Magen David Adom, the country’s emergency services, also said that 44 people were in a critical condition and about 103 were injured.
Six helicopters were called to transport the injured to hospitals.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the tragedy as a “heavy disaster”.
Tens of thousands of people had gathered at Meron in northern Israel to celebrate the religious holiday Lag B’Omer.
Police said that the stampede was triggered after revellers slipped on steps, causing many more people to fall over.
MDA spokesman Zaki Heller told the Maariv newspaper: “Difficult sights, people crushed without being able to escape.
“Some of the wounded are still being treated at the scene.”
Another eyewitness described seeing people die next to them.
They told Maariv: “We were at the entrance, we decided we wanted to get out and then the police blocked the gate, so whoever wanted to get out could not get out.
“In that hurry we fell on each other, I thought I was going to die.
“I saw people dead next to me.”
The Israel Defence forces have sent soldiers from the rescue brigade and Israel Air Force helicopters to help at the scene.
The religious holiday marks the death of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, whose tomb is located at Meron.
Bonfires are normally lit at Meron and across the country to celebrate the festival.
Last year, the celebrations were cancelled due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
This year, police were expecting hundreds of thousands of people to visit the site by Friday night.