Gallery: Thousands gather at Kotel for Birkat Hakohanim

10,000 worshipers throng Jerusalem's Western Wall Plaza for bi-annual Priestly Blessing; police presence ensures prayers pass peacefully.

Thousands gather at the Kotel for Birkat Hakohanim
Kohanim bless the crowd at the Kotel
Chief Rabbis Amar and Metzger and Mayor Nir Barkat
Mayor Nir Barkat and Kotel Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz
Thousands gather at the Kotel for Birkat Hakohanim
Ten thousand Jewish worshipers gathered at the Western Wall Plaza on Thursday to take part in the bi-annual Priestly Blessing, which usually occurs on the second intermediate days of Sukkot and Pessah.
The blessing, known in Hebrew as the Birkat Hakohanim, is a public gathering in which the Kohanim – the priestly class – bestow upon the Jewish people a three-fold blessing that originated with the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
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Massive police presence ensured that the prayers passed peacefully and without incident.
During the Priestly Blessing in October 2009 massive rioting broke out on the Temple Mount and throughout east Jerusalem, following rumors circulated by Muslim priests that spoke of a "Jewish plot" to take over the incendiary holy site.