Extra police security measures have been put in place for the festival of Sukkot in public areas, parks, and malls across Israel, following the Yom Kippur holiday. Police units are providing beefed up security at national parks, community centers, synagogues and other public areas.
According to the Israel Police Foreign Spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, special emphasis is being placed on Jerusalem as security is reinforced in and around the Old City of Jerusalem. During the Sukkot festival, police patrolling the Old City arrested 10 Arabs for throwing rocks from rooftops, which caused no injuries, according to Rosenfeld.
Thousands of people are visiting Jerusalem’s Western Wall during the week-long holiday to attend the annual priestly blessing recited at one of Judaism’s holiest sites. Last year on Sukkot, an estimated 50,000 people including ultra-Orthodox, religious, secular, traditional and non-Jewish tourists attended the traditional blessing ceremony at the Western Wall.
Following UNESCO’s resolution last week that denied any historic and religious connection of the Jewish people to the Western Wall and Temple Mount, Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri called on Israelis to visit the Western Wall in masses this Wednesday on a Facebook post. “This year, we’ll come, in our masses, to Jerusalem to the Western Wall, to the Priestly Blessing. We’ll send a clear message – nobody will separate us from our holy places.”
“On Sukkot, we will go up to Jerusalem; say yes to the Western Wall, no to UNESCO’s decision!” wrote Deri.
President Reuven Rivlin also commented last week on the vote, stating that “there is no festival more connected to Jerusalem than Sukkot.”
“The festival of Israel all highlight the inextricable bond between our people and our land, and no forum or body in the world can come and deny the connection between the Jewish people, the Land of Israel and Jerusalem – and any such body that does so simply embarrasses itself,” said the Israeli president.