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Israelis called to gather at Western Wall to pray for coronavirus victims around the world

Rabbi Amichai Eliyahu, chairman of the Association of Comunity Rabbis, blows a shofar at a mass prayer service at the Western Wall for coronavirus victims around the world on Feb. 16, 2020. (Courtesy of the Association of Comunity Rabbis)

By MARCY OSTER
JERUSALEM (JTA) –Hundreds of Israelis gathered at the Western Wall on Sunday, Feb. 15, after a prominent rabbi in Israel called for a mass prayer for those infected by the coronavirus.

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Safed, and the Association of Communitiy Rabbis, organized the service in Jerusalem’s Old City .

The prayer service also was held in partnership with the Israel branch of the Orthodox Union. Several Chinese officials in Israel and Chinese visitors to Israel also attended the service.

“The job of the Jewish people is to pray for the good of the entire world,” Eliyahu said in a statement announcing the Western Wall prayer issued on Thursday. The statement called to “pray for the people of China who are in great distress.”

Meanwhile, the three Israelis who tested positive for the coronavirus on the Diamond Princess have been taken to a hospital in Japan, Israel’s Health Ministry announced. Israel reportedly will send a doctor to care for them. At least 15 Israelis were quarantined aboard the ship.

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