The best way to spend your Holy Week at this time of crisis amid the continuing havoc of the COVID-19 pandemic is to go on a virtual visit to one of the holiest sites in Israel and ‘communicate’ with God via the power of the Internet.
For Filipinos missing out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the Ministry of Tourism of Israel is offering to place their notes in Jerusalem’s Western Wall by simply accessing the agency portal and submit their respective wishes and prayers.
The Ministry will then print the notes and individually place them in the cracks of the historic wall.
“While Israel is closed to international travel, we wanted to create a meaningful way this coming Holy Week for the Filipinos in which they can be inspired and connect with the spiritual sites that are abundant in our country, said Sammy Yahia, Israel’s Ministry of Tourism for India and the Philippines, in a statement.
It has become a tradition for many pilgrims and visitors alike, including Filipinos, to stop by the Western Wall in the Old Jerusalem and leave a note.
Around 34,100 Filipinos visited Israel during the pre-COVID-19 season or in 2019, according to the data provided by Israel’s Tourism ministry.
“The Western Wall is an important piece of Jewish tradition and under normal circumstances, would attract thousands of travelers from all faiths and none. With travel currently restricted, we want to make this unique Israeli experience accessible for the Filipinos this Holy Week, so we created a portal for them to send their personal notes,” Yahia added.
It was learned that a team led by a Rabbi who is in charge of the Western Wall, collects hundreds of thousands of notes stuck in the Wall’s cracks at least twice a year and buries them on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives.
The Western Wall has also been known as the ‘Wailing Wall’ in reference to the practice of Jews weeping at the site over the destruction of the Temples in 70 AD.
To access the Western Wall, Filipinos are advised to visit or enter the link https://israel.travel.ph/westernwall//.