As is the norm in Israel this time of year, air pollution levels increased significantly last night, as Israelis celebrated the Jewish holiday of Lag Ba’omer by lighting bonfires around the country. ​Measurements from most of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP)’s air quality monitoring stations show a spike in concentrations of particulate matter, which affects the respiratory system, on Wednesday and Thursday, May 25th and 26th, 2015. Pollution levels reached their peak between the hours of 22:30 Wednesday night and 4:30 Thursday morning.

PM10: Lag Ba'omer Levels

​City/Area ​PM10 ​How Many Times Higher
Than Average Clear Day* Afula​


Southern Tel Aviv


Northern Tel Aviv​




Jerusalem (Ba’aka neighborhood)​


​Beit Shemesh


Nir Galim​




​Be’er Sheva



*Average concentrations of PM10 on a clear day=60  μg/m3 (micrograms/cubic meter)

PM2.5: Lag Ba'omer Levels

​City/Area ​PM2.5 ​How Many Times Higher
Than Average Clear Day* Kiryat Motzkin / Acre Rd.


Kiryat Haim / Haifa


Petach Tikvah / Segulah


Hemed / Or Yehuda


Rishon Lezion




Tel Aviv / Jaffa (Yefet neighborhood)​


​Ramat Gan


Ashdod (North)


​Ashdod (15th Quarter)



*Average concentrations of PM2.5 on a clear day=30  μg/m3 (micrograms/cubic meter)

It should be noted that measurements are affected by the proximity of particular bonfires to air monitoring stations, as well as by meteorological conditions such as wind direction and speed and the conditions atmospheric turbulence. This year, there were low concentrations of particulate matter in Tel Aviv-area monitoring stations, due to the decrease in the number of open spaces there.

Research finds that there is a rise in the number of emergency cases at hospitals throughout the country at times when the pollution levels are highest, such as on the Lag Ba’omer holiday.