Thousands of Israelis Join Prayers for Rain Called by Agriculture Minister at Western Wall

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel called to join the prayer service - held as part of a Jewish holiday - for plentiful rain 'due to the harsh drought'

Religious Jews attend a special prayer service for rain at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on December 28, 2017.
RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS

Some 2,500 people attended a special service at the Western Wall plaza on Thursday evening to pray for rain and to mark the 10th of Tevet fast. Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and Israel's chief rabbis – Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau - also took part in the prayer called following predictions of drought in Israel.

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Ariel posted an official invitation to farmers and the public at large to hold "a mass prayer for rain" on his Facebook page last week. The invitation bore the state and Agriculture Ministry's insignias, as well as the emblems of the Moshavim and Religious Kibbutz movements.

"Due to the harsh drought the chief rabbis call on the public to pray for rain," the chief rabbis said in a statement to the public. The statement followed Ariel's request a few weeks ago for a halakhic ruling classifying this as a drought year, in order to hold a special prayer for rain.

The rabbis agreed that indeed there was fear of drought and ruled that a special prayer for rain would be added to the 10th of Tevet fast Thursday. The rabbis urged the public to attend the prayer at the Western Wall, adding "all the synagogues nationwide are urged on this day to hold prayers and say forgiveness and request for rains."