Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel is organizing a mass prayer for rain at the Western Wall on Thursday as Israel prepares for a year of drought.
Israel's two Chief Rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau, farmers, settler leaders and heads of agricultural organizations will attend the prayer, which will be held at 3:30pm on Thursday.
"Unfortunately, after four years of drought, we've only had a little be of rain so far (this year), less than the multi-annual average, and this winter is shaping up to be dry," Ariel said.
"I call on the public to take part in the prayer on 10 of Tevet, which as you know is a day of fast, and bring umbrellas because together we will rip open the skies," he added.
Ariel talked about the steps taken by the Agriculture Ministry to help farmers suffering from the drought. "Over the past year, we've worked to improve the water situation for farmers. We've reduced the price of freshwater by 20 percent and formulated a plan—along with the Energy Ministry and the Treasury—which was adopted by the Water Authority, according to which there will be no cuts in water quotas without compensation.
"At the same time, the Agriculture Ministry is working to invest in water-saving crops and direct water to plantations rather than field crops, while encouraging farmers to make efficient use of water. We will continue making efforts to benefit the farmers," he said.
Secretary General of the Moshav Movement and Director of the Israel Farmers Association, Meir Tzur, called on Israelis to "take part in the welcomed initiative by the agriculture minister, which unites all of us around the wish for rainfall. This prayer event is meant to create comradeship and unity among all farmers."