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September 30, 2015 12:31 pm

Mass Sukkot Blessing Takes Place at Temple Mount Despite Tension

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The Birkat HaCohanim ("priestly blessing" in Hebrew) at the Western Wall in 1995. Photo: Moshe Milner/the Israeli government press office via Flickr.com.

The Birkat HaCohanim (“priestly blessing” in Hebrew) at the Western Wall in 1995. Photo: Moshe Milner/the Israeli government press office via Flickr.com.

JNS.org – Fifty-thousand people gathered to pray at Jerusalem’s Western Wall on Wednesday as part of a biennial priestly blessing for Sukkot.

The Birkat HaCohanim (“priestly blessing” in Hebrew) takes place on Hol Hamoed on both Sukkot and Passover every year. For the past 45 years the blessing has been conducted as part of a mass gathering at the Western Wall. These days the event is regularly attended by Israel’s chief rabbis, Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau, and the rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites of Israel Shmuel Rabinovitch, Yedioth Aharonoth reported.

The mass blessing took place despite ongoing tension and violent altercations at the Temple Mount. Jerusalem Police deployed extra forces around the Old City, vowing to show zero tolerance for any rioters. A day prior police continued arresting Palestinian stone throwers in a heightened crackdown on Palestinian rioters attacking Jews with stones and pipe bombs ordered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week.

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