About 500,000 people visited the Western Wall, in accordance with Health Ministry and Israeli police regulations and directives, during the week of Passover 5781. The peak visiting days were the two days on which Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Blessing) took place, this year in a special format. Over one million viewers from Israel and around the world who were not able to come to Jerusalem and to the Western Wall due to the situation joined those events from afar through the Kotel website and other media outlets.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation summarized the holiday events with great satisfaction and gratitude to the Creator of the Universe noting that this was the most moving holiday. For the first time since the coronavirus outbreak, it was possible to see the blessed return of worshippers and visitors throughout the holiday who did their utmost to maintain public order while fulfilling the commandment of pilgrimage and of Birkat Kohanim in an orderly fashion.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, said, “The pilgrimage over Passover was impressive evidence of the Jewish nation’s connection with the remnant of our Temple following a year during which only few people could come. When the nation comes en masse to cling to the site’s stones, the scene is a joyful one, reminiscent of ancient times when crowds of pilgrims would come to see and be seen. This is more a reminder of the days of the Temple than of its destruction.”