Thousands gathered at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem Thursday to pray for rain.
The mass prayer was initiated by Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) in response to the ongoing drought, which will soon be entering its fifth year. Barely any rain fell in November, which is ordinarily a month of substantial rainfall.
"We'll tear open the heavens," Ariel wrote on Facebook in his call for the mass prayer.
The prayer was held on the Tenth of Tevet, which is a Fast Day commemorating the day the Babylonian army laid siege to Jerusalem in 589 BCE. Israel's Chief Rabbis, Rabbi David Lau and Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, were in attendance, as were Tzfat Chief Rabbi Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Rabbi Haim Druckman, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz and Rabbi Yisrael Ariel
Also participating were farmers from the north and the south, the president of the Israel Farmers' Union Dubi Amitai, the secretary general of the Moshav Movement and chairman of the Israel Farmers Union Meir Zur, and the secretary-general of the religious kibbutz, Amitai Porat.
Minister Ariel said that "after four years of drought, so far there have been less rainfall than the multi-annual average, and this winter looks like it will be another drought. I am happy that the public responded to the prayers and brought umbrellas."
"In the past year, we have done much to improve the situation of farmers in the water sector, reducing the price of fresh water by about 20%. We have formulated, together with the Water and Energy Ministry as well as the Finance Ministry, an outline adopted by the Water Authority whereby there will be no cutback [in water provided to farmers] without compensation. At the same time, the Agriculture Ministry is working to invest in water-saving crops and directing the water to orchards over field crops while encouraging farmers to switch to more efficient uses of water, and we will continue to make efforts to benefit the farmers," Ariel added.