Israel invites Pinoys to visit e-Wailing Wall as pandemic restricts travel to Holy Land

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 22 2021 07:19 PM

Israel invites Pinoys to visit e-Wailing Wall as pandemic restricts travel to Holy Land 1
A man prays at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Photo Handout via the Israeli Ministry of Tourism

MANILA - Israel's Tourism Ministry has mounted an online portal that would enable Filipinos to place notes in Jerusalem's Wailing Wall amid travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it said Monday.

Those who cannot physically visit the Wailing Wall may send e-notes to a website where these messages will be printed in Jerusalem and placed in the cracks of the historic wall, the Ministry said in a statement.

"While Israel is still 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," Sammy Yahia, Israel Ministry of Tourism director for India and the Philippines, said in the statement.

"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."

Thousands of Filipinos travel to Israel to retrace the steps and life of Jesus Christ in the Middle Eastern country, especially during the Holy Week, the ministry said.

Part of the tour is usually a visit to the Wailing Wall where "visitors could write a prayer or wishes in a piece of paper and squeeze it between the cracks of the wall." 

"It is said that if you leave a note at the Western Wall, your message and wishes will be heard as it is directly taken to God," the ministry said.

In 2019, some 34,100 Filipinos visited Israel, according to data from the Israel Ministry of Tourism.

The Philippines is commemorating this year the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the country.

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