Tens of thousands of people gathered at the Western Wall throughout the day Wednesday in what appeared to be defiant display of rejection against UNESCO’s Tuesday adoption of a resolution which Israel says denies the deep historic Jewish connection to holy sites in Jerusalem.
The deluge of attendants packed the holy site to its parameters as worshippers sought to participate in the traditional annual blessings given by the high priests during Chol Hamoed—the interim period between Sukkot and Simchat Torah.
The celebratory prayer services, which was attended by Israel’s chief rabbis, took place in particularly enthusiastic fashion as participants demonstrated their disregard for the UNESCO resolution which failed to acknowledge a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem by exclusively using the its Islamic appellation.
Israel's Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau told Ynet that, contrary to the implicit conclusions of the resolution about Israel's non-exitent ties with the holy sites in the Old City, the flocking of thousands of Jews to the Western Wall was illustrative of the reality of the firmly entrenched Jewish roots and its undeniable presence.
“UNESCO can decide what it wants, but the reality is that the nation of Israel comes and votes with its feet and is here. We all look forward to the priestly blessings which conclude with the words, ‘peace in your name’ (and we hope it) will come about swiftly for the entire world,” Rabbi Lau said.
Witnessing the gigantic turnout, Western Wall and Holy Sites Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz could also hardly resist expressing his contempt for UNESCO’s decision.
“Sukkot is a festival of solidarity and there is no greater happiness than the solidarity of Israel,” he declared. “We see this wonderful solidarity today, which transcends (political) camps and ethnicity, all across the Western Wall plaza and this is our answer to UNESCO. Anyone who doubts our connection with the Kotel or the Temple Mount should see the thousands who have gathered here today. This is the answer to the delusional decision.”