Tens of Thousands at Birkas Kohanim

YERUSHALAYIM -
Birkas Kohanim at the Kosel last year Pesach. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)
Birkas Kohanim at the Kosel. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

Tens of thousands of people gathered at the Kosel Wednesday morning for the traditional mass Birkas Kohanim event, held on Chol Hamoed of Pesach and Sukkos, on the first day of Chol Hamoed for the Diaspora. Thousands of police and soldiers were on duty to prevent attacks on the mispallelim, and the strategy seemed to be working, as no security events were reported.

Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Yehudah and Shomron are under a closure through the end of Simchas Torah. As of Wednesday, there were few security incidents reported over the Sukkos period, although there were several reports of rock throwing by Arabs at the light rail in Yerushalayim on Tuesday.

IDF soldiers, meanwhile, were on full alert to ensure that things remained calm. Overnight Tuesday, soldiers shut down a workshop for the manufacture of weapons in the Balata refugee camp near Shechem. Equipment and materials for the manufacture of weapons, as well as completed weapons, were confiscated.

Overnight Tuesday, security officials said they arrested 7 wanted security suspects in other areas in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.