Israeli Agriculture Minister's Solution to Drought: Mass Western Wall Prayers for Rain

In a Facebook post, Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel invited 'farmers and the general public' of Israel to pray for rain in preparation for the forecast dry winter

Zafrir Rinat
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File photo: Worshippers pray at the Western Wall on Yom Kippur in October, 2016.
File photo: Worshippers pray at the Western Wall on Yom Kippur in October, 2016.Credit: GilC-M/Bloomberg
Zafrir Rinat

Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel published a statement on his Facebook page Friday inviting "prayers to bring about rain" that will begin Thursday at the Western Wall plaza. The statement said that Ariel initiated the prayer service intended for "farmers and the general public."

On the invitation were printed the symbols of Israel, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Moshavim Movement and Religious Kibbutz Movement and read: "Alongside the preparations for a year of drought and for the sake of rain, prayer will be held at the initiative of Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel at the Western Wall plaza."

In an interview Thursday with Arutz Sheva, Ariel said "I call upon the entire public to take part in the prayers," that coincide with a fasting day in the Hebrew calendar "and to bring umbrellas that will together tear the gates of heaven."

Joining the prayer ceremony will be the Chief Rabbis of Israel, the rabbi of the Western Wall, Chairman of the Israel Farmers Association and Secretary General of the Moshav movement. In addition, the invitation mentions Ze'ev Hever, secretary general of Amana, which deals with the establishment of outposts in the West Bank.

The Meteorological Service assessed in recent weeks that Israel is going to have another dry winter - based on new European weather models, the rainfall to date and December forecasts.

The weather model came from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. Israel uses its forecasts to survey the rainfall north of Be’er Sheva over the past 20 years. Based on this model, there is a 64.7 percent chance of insufficient rainfall in December, January and February, the primary rainy months.

Israel got only 45 percent of its multiyear average rainfall in September through November. While there is a 33 percent chance of a rainy period during January, February and March, the service believes that since there isn’t any significant rain forecast for the next two weeks, it’s going to be a dry winter.

Lake Kinneret has reached its lowest level in nine years and its lowest early-December level in 15 years.

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