Photo Credit: Shai Halevi / Israel Antiquities Authority
The excavation under the lobby of the Western Wall Tunnels.

In accordance with new regulations and the reopening of other museums, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation announced Monday that the Western Wall Tunnels sites are reopening — albeit in a restricted manner and with strict adherence to regulations — starting this Thursday (30 Av-1 Elul / 20 August 2020).

Tours can be reserved in advance for individuals and for groups of up to 20 participants.

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“We are excited to announce to the public that the Western Wall Tunnels sites are reopening after having been closed for five months due to the coronavirus pandemic,” said The Western Wall Heritage Foundation.

“Throughout the entire period of time, we have been working creatively to allow the public to connect to the Western Wall remotely – for prayer and virtual tours.

Prior to the pandemic, more than half a million visitors came each year to the Western Wall Tunnels sites. Now with the approach of the end of the summer vacation and with the approach of the 1st of the Hebrew month of Elul, and the emotional time of Selichot (penitential prayers), families and the entire public are being welcomed to return to visiting the Western Wall sites.

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation also runs a series of tours in Jerusalem, with the Health Ministry’s “Purple Badge” approval, in addition to virtual tours of the Western Wall Tunnels, new excavation sites, and the Jewish Quarter for participants from Israel and around the world who cannot physically come to the Western Wall.

So far, more than 20,000 people from countries around the world have participated in the tours from Hong Kong, USA, Russia, Australia, Italy, Great Britain, Mexico, and elsewhere.

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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 Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.