A special prayer session was held on Thursday evening at the Western Wall for the safe return of hostages held in the Gaza Strip and for the success of the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli security forces in the war against Hamas.
Avichai Brodtz, whose wife and three children were abducted and taken to Gaza, and Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi of the Western Wall, participated in the event, which included the recitation of Psalms and prayers for the IDF’s welfare.
Such gatherings at the Jerusalem holy site are held during times of national emergency.
The IDF said on Thursday that 203 hostages are being held in Gaza.
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said the families have been notified and stressed that the number will likely rise, as the military receives new information.
Some of the notifications were made with high confidence and others with moderate to low confidence, per Hagari. Other families of missing Israelis have been told that their loved ones are not hostages.
Nearly two weeks after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel’s Gaza border communities, many Israelis remain unaccounted for. The IDF is continuing to search near the border, and forensic experts are working around the clock to identify bodies.
More than 1,400 Israelis were killed and as many as 4,600 others wounded in the attacks.