Thousands at Kotel for Birkat Kohanim, Hakhel

Security forces have reinforced the Old City since dawn as thousands expected to attend special ceremonies.

Arutz Sheva Staff, | updated: 17:30

Birkat Kohanim
Birkat Kohanim
Yoni Kempinski

Thousands of people flocked to the Kotel (Western Wall) on Wednesday, for the the Birkat HaKohanim (Priestly Blessing) ceremony at 9:30 (for the morning service) and 10:30 am (for the Mussaf service).

Also Wednesday morning, a moving ceremony will be held wherein four Torah scrolls will be brought to the site ahead of Hakhel, in which all of Israel is meant to gather to hear the Torah read at the Temple Mount once every seven years. 

The ceremony will be attended by great scholars, Israel's chief rabbis from past and present, and will include the traditional 'welcoming of the Torah' ceremony, prayers, and a focus on accepting the commandments. There will be no speeches at the event. 

Among the participants will be the main cantor of the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem, Rabbi Chaim Adler; poet Yehuda Naftali; a choir; and singers Mendi and Yanki Rubin.

Hakhel will be held at 5:30 pm. 

Boosting security

Police reinforcements have been called in ahead of the expected tourist influx.

Hundreds of Border Police and Israel Police officers and volunteers have been working since the early hours of Wednesday morning to secure the Old City of Jerusalem, which has seen heightened tensions in light of Arab violence on the Temple Mount. 

Police have also made a public announcement that private vehicle traffic in the Old City is forbidden due to traffic concerns, and instead to park at a number of nearby lots - at Mount Scopus, Ammunition Hill, the Police National Headquarters, the Central Bus Station/Binyanei HaUma - and commute via special shuttles to be provided to the Wall.



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