The national emergency service, Magen David Adom (MDA), said dozens more had been wounded at the festival of Lag B’omer, at the foot of Mount Meron.
Festival organisers estimated that 100,000 people attended the event on Thursday. But after midnight, a grandstand collapsed, triggering scenes of panic.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
Israel s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, described the incident as a “heavy disaster”, adding: “We are all praying for the wellbeing of the casualties.”
Emergency officials said 38 people were in critical condition at the site, with scores more wounded less seriously.
“MDA is fighting for the lives of dozens wounded, and will not give up until the last victim is evacuated,” a tweet read.
Israel has lifted most coronavirus restrictions and the festival was held legally.
A message from the Editor:
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men stand next to covered bodies after dozens of people were killed and others injured after a grandstand collapsed in Meron, Israel, where tens of thousands of people were gathered to celebrate the festival of Lag Ba'omer at the site in northern Israel. Photo by David COHEN / JINI PIX / AFP) / Israel OUT (Photo by DAVID COHEN/JINI PIX/AFP via Getty Images)
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Rescue teams in the aftermath of a stampede at the scene of a religious gathering in Meron in northern Israel near the reputed tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a second-century Talmudic sage, where mainly ultra-Orthodox Jews flock to mark the Lag BaOmer holiday. Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)