JERUSALEM, Israel – The Western Wall is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism and thousands of people come each year to touch its stones and to pray.
The iconic holy site remains open today even as Israel battles the deadly coronavirus. Authorities are taking special precautions to ensure the wall doesn’t become a hotbed for spreading the viral infection.
On Tuesday, officials removed the prayer notes tucked between the stones of the wall as they usually do every year before Passover. Then, they sanitized the holy site to protect visitors.
The notes were collected in special bags and will be buried on the Mount of Olives.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, was there for the removal and cleaning of the notes and prayed for everyone infected with COVID-19.
“During these difficult days in which the plague is spreading around the world and threatening our lives, we collect prayers from around the world at the remnant of our destroyed Temple, prayers to the Creator of the Universe that He should send us a complete healing and good health and redeem us from this difficult virus that has attacked the world,” Rabbi Rabinowitz said.
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Israeli authorities also disinfected The Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Monday to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The church is revered by Christians as the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
Israel’s Health Ministry reported on Wednesday that 5,591 Israelis have been infected with the coronavirus and 21 people have died.
The ministry recorded 760 new cases in the last 24 hours, the largest single day jump since the outbreak began. Most cases are mild and 226 Israelis have recovered from the virus.