Thousands of worshippers flocked to the Western Wall plaza on Wednesday for the traditional two-day priestly blessing prayer held in celebration of Sukkot.
The ceremony itself is a high profile event held only twice a year on Sukkot and Passover, during which a group of Kohanim (Hebrew priests and descendants of Aaron) recite a prayer from the Book of Numbers meant to bless all Israelites.
The Priestly Blessing has been held a the Western Wall plaza twice a year for over 40 decades, and has been regularly attended by tens of thousands of people, be they religious, secular, Haredi or even non-Jewish tourists.
This year, due to the COVID pandemic and restrictions meant to prevent a mass outbreak following the prayer, entry to the Western Wall plaza has been limited to no more than 8,000 people, while the plaza itself has been divided into 15 prayer capsules meant to prevent overcrowding.
The entry to the site, however, is allowed without the need to present a certificate of vaccination or recovery.
Unlike previous years, the Kohanim will conduct the prayer on both Wednesday and Thursday in order to allow more people to attend the ceremony and hear the prayer either in person or through a live feed despite the restrictions.
In preparations for the event, the police deployed thousands of officers all around as well as inside Jerusalem's Old City, where the Western Wall is located, in order to ensure the visitors' safety.
Entry to the area with private vehicles has also been prohibited - except for local residents. Those wishing to arrive to the Old City can do so via the city's public transportation, which has been reinforced to facilitate the large amount of visitors expected to reach the site.