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update deskIsrael at War

Thousands attend Western Wall prayer session for the return of hostages

Thousands of Jews came "to cry out, plead, and invoke heavenly mercy upon all of Israel" amid Israel's war with Hamas in Gaza.

Israelis attend a prayer gathering at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, Jan. 10, 2024. Photo by Oz Faber/TPS.
Israelis attend a prayer gathering at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, Jan. 10, 2024. Photo by Oz Faber/TPS.

A special prayer session for the hostages being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip and for the safety of Israeli forces was held at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on Wednesday.

The event included family members of some 136 hostages still being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, those who have been wounded in the war and soldiers still battling terrorists in the Palestinian enclave.

Among the attendees were the chief rabbis of Israel, the rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, other religious and public figures, and thousands of Jews who came “to cry out, plead, and invoke heavenly mercy upon all of Israel.”

During the gathering, the selichot prayer was recited according to both the Sephardic and Ashkenazi traditions, including chapters from the Yom Kippur Katan prayer and Psalms.

Israelis attend a prayer gathering at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Jan. 10, 2023. Video by Oz Faber/TPS.

In November, a large Torah scroll dedication ceremony to honor Israeli hostages and soldiers in Gaza took place at the Western Wall Plaza.

Two scrolls were dedicated “to elevate the souls of the fallen, the well-being of soldiers and return of the hostages.”

Families of slain soldiers and hostages, as well as evacuees from southern and northern Israel, attended, as did rabbis and public figures.

Shortly after Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre of some 1,200 people, a special prayer session was held at the Western Wall for the safe return of hostages and the success of Israeli security forces in the war.

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