Thousands of Jewish pilgrims in Israel's biggest Covid-era gathering

Meron (Israel) (AFP) –

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Tens of thousands of Jews took part Thursday in a pilgrimage in northern Israel, in the country's largest public gathering in the age of coronavirus.

The annual pilgrimage for the feast of Lag BaOmer is staged in Meron around the reputed tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a second century Talmudic sage.

Last year, the event was called off due to restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19.

On the back of the world's fastest vaccination campaign, Israel has since late February emerged from its third national lockdown.

Since December, more than 50 percent of the nine-million population, or about 80 percent of over-20s, have been fully vaccinated with two shots.