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Passover prayer at Jerusalem's Western Wall

Monday, April 25, 2016 - 00:48

Thousands of Jewish worshippers attend a special 'Priestly Blessing' prayer in front of Jerusalem's Western Wall, a site heavily secured amid months of violence and heightened tension over the Jewish holiday of Passover.

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Thousands of Jews hold mass Passover prayer at Jerusalem's Western Wall Thousands of Jewish worshippers attend a special 'Priestly Blessing' prayer in front of Jerusalem's Western Wall, a site heavily secured amid months of violence and heightened tension over the Jewish holiday of Passover. STORY: Thousands of Jews gathered at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Monday (April 25) to attend a mass prayer for the holiday of Passover. The crowd of men, women and children took part in a special prayer called Birkat Hakohanim, the Priestly Blessing, which draws Jewish worshippers from across Israel and around the world. It is held twice a year, during the Jewish holidays of Passover and Sukkot. Kohanim, or priests, lead the communal prayers by chanting three consecutive verses of the Torah (Jewish scripture), one word at a time, in a special song reputedly dating back to the Temple era itself. Considered Judaism's holiest site, the Western Wall is a remnant of the compound of the Second Jewish Temple built by King Herod the Great, which was destroyed in 70 AD. It is located just below the al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third most holy site. The proximity of the two sacred sites can be especially volatile, which was on Monday secured by thousands of Israeli police and para military troops. Faithful of all religions are allowed to enter the Al-Aqsa compound, also known as Temple Mount, in pre defined time windows and under specific rules. On Monday, 842 visitors entered the compound and police removed three Jewish visitors who violated the visiting rules, a police spokesperson said in a statement. She said Israeli security forces had been deployed across Israel and Jerusalem during the week-long Jewish holiday. Such high alert has become common practice by Israeli security forces during major Jewish and Muslim holidays and has been intensified this Passover due to a six-month long surge of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

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Passover prayer at Jerusalem's Western Wall

Monday, April 25, 2016 - 00:48