Photo Credit: Yoav Dudkevitch/TPS
The Passover Priestly Blessing held on April 9, 2023 at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Thousands of Jewish worshippers packed the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem on Sunday for the Passover priestly blessing, an event that takes place annually during the intermediate days (Chol Hamoed) of each of two major Jewish festivals, Sukkot and Passover (Pesach).


The ceremony was attended by both Israeli Chief Rabbis, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and Rabbi David Lau, as well as the Rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz.

Some 2,500 police officers were deployed in Jerusalem on Sunday and were on high alert prior to and during the Priestly Blessing due to the ongoing violence at the nearby Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

Despite the concerns, Israel Police reported no incidents during the event.

Muslim extremists and agitators have repeatedly barricaded themselves with weapons inside the mosque, intending to attack Jewish visitors to the site, which is sacred to Jews as well as Muslims.

Arabs again barricaded themselves inside the mosque on Saturday night, and police were concerned they would attempt to harm worshipers at the Western Wall below during the Priestly Blessing.

During the Blessing, a special prayer was recited for the safety and security of Israel’s security forces and the country’s citizens, according to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.