Thousands from across the country and from around the world gathered last night in Jerusalem to renew the traditional march around the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City on the night of Tisha B’Av.
The 20th annual march took place through the efforts of the heads of the “Women in Green” organization, led by Yehudit Katzover and Nadia Matar together with MK Orit Struk (Jewish Home) and Head of the Samaria Regional Council, Gershon Mesika.
Each year the event starts at Independence Park in central Jerusalem, where Eicha (the Book of Lamentations) is read aloud, and from there the march begins in full force, with the crowd holding a giant Israeli flag. The route was slightly different this year, not passing through Sultan Suleiman Street due to the funeral procession for the man who was killed by a tractor in yesterday’s (Monday) terrorist attack.
At the end of the march, a mass rally was held at Zion’s gate, from where people made their way to the Kotel (Western Wall), to continue to recite special prayers said during Tisha b’Av.
The rally was opened by Yehudit Katzover, who praised the soldiers of the IDF who have been fighting in the south for their selfless sacrifice, and wished for swift and complete recovery for the wounded. She spoke of the great unity that was being expressed, a unity which was the only answer to the senseless hate that had led to the original destruction of the Temple.
“Our nation wants victory. Our nation wants sovereignty [over Judea and Samaria]. Then the world will appreciate us as they did after the Six Day War, after Entebbe, and after blowing up the Iraqi nuclear reactor,” Katzover said to a resounding round of applause from the crowd.
Nadia Matar, of ‘Women in Green’, continued in this vein, saying, “The only true and lasting solution is sovereignty," and calling upon Israeli leaders to take the strength of its people “Not only on the Temple Mount, but for Samaria and Judea, and for the Jordan Valley, through sovereignty.”
MK Orit Struk, who is a major proponent of sovereignty for Judea and Samaria, looked at the crowd and noted the number of people who had gathered in Jerusalem to participate from around the entire country, and from around the world. She spoke of how an event like this was perceived as a far-fetched, illogical dream up until 70 years ago. “When our grandparents prayed, they could not conceive of this being a reality,” she said.
“Some people may ask us, what are we looking for in Gaza? But Gaza is a part of Israel, and it gave us vegetables, flowers, and fruit trees. And then we abandoned it, and it turned into a hornet’s nest that seeks to destroy us,” Struk said. She then reiterated her commitment to her efforts towards obtaining sovereignty.
Last, but not least, was Chairman Gershon Mesika, Chairman of the Samarian Regional Council, who said, “On this day, all Jews the world over are in mourning for the things that have taken place on this day for the past 2,000 year. We march around the Temple Walls, around the Temple Mount, and we are surrounded by blood-thirsty foxes, while the Israeli government, out of weakness, relinquishes control to them.”
“Every Jew knows of the glory that was on the Temple Mount, and the work done there, and of the burning of both the First and Second Temples. Sovereignty must be restored, and it is upon us to demand that the Israeli government bring sovereignty not only to the Temple Mount, but to each and every place in Israel,” he stated.