Videos, Photos: 30,000 Attend Birchas Kohanim at Kosel


kosel[Videos and photos below.] Despite tensions in Yerushalayim’s Old City, some 30,000 Yidden arrived at the Kosel today to attend Birchas Kohanim. Following recent violent events in the area, police were on high alert and many officers were deployed throughout the allies of the Old City leading up to the Kosel in an attempt to prevent any conflict. Two incidents were already recorded this morning: Stones were thrown at dozens of Yidden davening on har Hazeisim. Police and Border Guard officers were able to disperse the riots without using force.

At the Ras al-Amud circle in east Yerushalayim, stones were thrown at police and Border Guard officers, and the rioters were dispersed. There were no reports of damage or injury in both cases.

Earlier, some 150 young Arab worshippers prayed near the Old City, and refused to leave once prayer was over.

However, police were able to disperse them without having to use any force, and were able to significantly limit the number of Muslim worshippers entering the Har Habayis compound.

Last night, the Islamic Movement stressed that nothing would stop Muslim worshippers from going to the Har Habayis to pray. “We will not be deterred; we will keep going to the site. Al-Aqsa is one of the most important things for us,” said a source from the movement.

Hundreds of police and Border Guard officers, as well as volunteers, were deployed throughout the allies of the Old City since the early hours of this morning.

Yesterday, Yerushalayim District Police Commander Aharon Franco ordered the Har Habayis be closed off to visitors. A top Yerushalayim Police official told Ynet, “We will act with determination against any body that tries to disrupt order.”

 Internal Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch was also at the Kosel today in order to oversee police preparedness.

As he entered the site, right-wing activist Itamar Ben Gvir shouted at the minister, “The police should take care of those who threaten violence and not show weakness. It is shameful that the Muslims threaten violence and the state of Israel gives in.”

 After the violent clashes that took place on the eve of Yom Kippur, riots at the Har Habayis resumed yesterday. In protest of entry restrictions, some 150 Arabs began throwing stones and empty bottles at police officers.

To view photos of today’s Birchas Kohanim, see below:

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For video clips, click on the two screens below:

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{Ynet/Yair Israel/Photos: Yair, Ladaat}