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Emergency workers gather at the scene after dozens of people were killed and others injured in a stampede in Meron, Israel.

At least 45 people have been killed and 150 hospitalized in a stampede at a large Jewish festival in northern Israel, the deadliest civilian disaster in the country's history, AP reports.

The latest: President Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday to offer condolences on behalf of the United States for those killed at Lag B'Omer.

What they're saying: "The loss of life among worshipers practicing their faith is heartbreaking," Biden said in a statement.

  • "I have instructed my team to offer our assistance to the government and people of Israel as they respond to the disaster and care for the wounded. We are also working to confirm reports that American citizens may have lost their lives or been wounded during the religious observance of Lag B’Omer."

The big picture: Tens of thousands of people gathered at Mount Meron to observe Lag BaOmer, an Orthodox Jewish holiday honoring Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a 2nd century sage buried there, per AP.

  • The festival was the largest event of its kind held in the country since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, which has been significantly curbed by Israel's world-leading vaccine rollout.
  • Netanyahu described the incident as "one of the worst disasters that has befallen the state of Israel" while briefly visiting the site on Friday. He was jeered by protesters that blamed the government and police for failing to prevent the disaster.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details.

Go deeper

CDC: Vaccinated people in COVID hotspots should resume wearing masks

CDC director Rochelle Walensky and top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci at a Senate HELP committee hearing. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite-Pool/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidance on Tuesday recommending that vaccinated people wear masks in indoor, public settings if they are in parts of the U.S. with substantial to high transmission, among other circumstances.

Why it matters: The guidance, a reversal from recommendations made two months ago, comes as the Delta variant continues to drive up case rates across the country. Millions of people in the U.S. — either by choice or who are ineligible — remain unvaccinated and at risk of serious infection.

Scoop: 50,000 migrants released; few report to ICE

A law enforcement officer walks to meet migrants crossed the Rio Grande River illegally last month. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

About 50,000 migrants who crossed the southern border illegally have now been released in the United States without a court date. Although they are told to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office instead, just 13% have shown up so far, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The sizable numbers are a sign of just how overwhelmed some sectors of the U.S.-Mexico border continue to be: A single stretch covering the Rio Grande Valley had 20,000 apprehensions in a week. The figures also show the shortcomings of recent emergency decisions to release migrants.

2 hours ago - World

Scoop: Israel launches maximum pressure campaign against Ben & Jerry's

A Ben & Jerry's store in Yavne, Israel. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty

The Israeli government has formed a special task force to pressure Ben & Jerry's ice cream and its parent company Unilever to reverse their decision to boycott Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government is concerned the move by Ben & Jerry's will encourage other international companies to take similar steps to differentiate between Israel and the West Bank settlements. A classified Foreign Ministry cable, seen by Axios, makes clear the government wants to send a message.