The Cave of the Patriarchs was closed Wednesday night, with an announcement made that worshipers and visitors would no longer be allowed in to the site for as long as the Health Ministry’s emergency restrictions are in effect.
Prayers are to be held in the plaza outside the Patriarchs’ Tomb, and close to the site of the stairwell that was in use during the time of the Ottoman Empire, when Jews were allowed only to ascend only to the seventh step.
Those who attend the Shacharit morning services (7:30 am and 8:30 am) are cautioned to remain standing two meters apart (about six and a half feet).
Mincha afternoon services begin at around 15 minutes after sunset, right around candle-lighting time.
It’s not yet clear how officials will handle the issue of closure with the Islamic prayer times.