Blessings flow amid the tensions

The tense atmosphere at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem continued on Monday 25th April, with security forces maintaining their increased vigilance. Security concerns were heightened due to the gathering of thousands of Jewish people at the Western Wall for the Priestly Blessing ceremony, which is held annually on the intermediate days of Passover and Succot.

Photo of the ceremony at the Western Wall

The Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall (photo by Israel Police)

Part of this year's ceremony can be watched in this video clip on the Jerusalem Post website.

The Hebrew term for the Priestly Blessing is Birkat Kohanim, also known as Nesi’at Kapayim, the “lifting of the hands,” because of the priests’ uplifted hands through which the divine blessings flow.

The increased vigilance of the security forces seems to have been successful over the weekend, with no major incidents reported. Although there were tense moments on the Temple Mount, with thirteen Jewish visitors and one Palestinian being arrested on Sunday for violations of the strict rules that govern access to the site.

The good weather prompted hundreds of thousands of Israelis to visit nature reserves and national parks throughout the country on Sunday, which was the first of the intermediate days of the Passover holiday.