Thousands gathered at the grave of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hakohen Kook zt''l on Friday, for the 79th anniversary of the passing of Israel's first Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi and visionary founder of the religious Zionist movement.

Among the visitors to the grave at Jerusalem's Mount of Olives were various leading rabbis and public figures, including Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi David Lau, Beit El Chief Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed, Rabbi Tzvi Tau, Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home), Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) and many others.

This makes the fourth year in a row that various religious Zionist organizations have visited the grave in an organized trip initiated by Ariel, and the second year that an official visit has been held by Ben-Dahan's Ministry of Religious Services.

Rabbi Melamed spoke with Arutz Sheva while visiting Rabbi Kook's grave, remarking on his feelings at paying his respects to the visionary rabbi and leader.

"As is said of tzadikim (the righteous) that they have no rest in this world or the next, it can be said that the greatest among them, who raises in levels (of holiness) even after ascending to the heavens, continues to teach his Torah, and his light which spreads out more each passing year," said Rabbi Melamed.

Bringing evidence to his words, the rabbi added "we see it through this reality of a huge section of the public gathering here on the anniversary of his death expressing its adoration, and praying to continue his path and influence."

Rabbi Melamed concluded by noting that the public prays so that Rabbi Kook "will pray in the heavens for the Holy One Blessed be He to redeem us through a speedy and complete redemption."

The Ministry of Religious Services commented that the public visit is meant "to strengthen the connection between the figure and Torah of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hakohen Kook zt''l, and to express what unifies the nation of Israel."

Visiting Rabbi Kook's grave Yoni Kempinski