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120,000 Jews Flock to Walling Wall for Tisha B’av Services

August 5, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

More than 120,000 Jews flocked into the square before the Western Wall last night and this morning to mark Tisha B’av by saying prayers and reciting Lamentations. Israel took on a reverent atmosphere as the nation commemorated the day when the Temple was destroyed. Nightclubs and restaurants throughout Israel closed at sunset last night.

The multitude sat on the ground before the Western Wall with each group of people reciting their prayers in their traditional chant. Huge naval floodlights lit the area on orders from Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. Jews from Israel and other countries first started massing in the square early yesterday afternoon and the crowds continued to come until well after midnight today.

Jerusalem, which was tense on Friday following the explosion of a bomb in the Cafe Orient in East Jerusalem and clashes between Jews and Arabs, was quiet throughout Saturday and today. Police increased their patrols in Jerusalem following the bombing. They detained 15 East Jerusalem Arabs who were in the cafe for interrogation and for protection against attacks from infuriated Jewish youths. A number of scattered incidents also occurred in East Jerusalem between young Jews and Arabs and the police detained a number of the Jews.

One person was hurt in the explosion which destroyed the cafe’s storeroom, entrance ceiling and windows. There were about 50 people in the restaurant at the time of the bombing.

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