Daily Israel Report

Watch: Tisha B'Av Takes Special Significance Amid Gaza Operation

Religious and political figures explain the country's observance of the 9th of Av, and its connection to Operation Protective Edge.
By Talia Blatman, Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 8/5/2014, 6:33 PM

This year, the fast of the ninth of Av was honored all over the country in various ways, and was bestowed with a new sense of significance in light of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

Monday night, Nadia Matar, of Women in Green, spoke following the rerouting of the March Around the Walls of the Old City, in light of Monday’s terror attacks in the capital. “Thousands and thousands of Jews came from all over the country with a very clear message, ‘This is our land. An undivided Jerusalem is our capital, and I think that the last few months have shown… the people have shown incredible unity, incredible love for their fellow Jews, and incredible love for their country.’”

Matar called upon the government to “Take from the people to also be strong… and to use the strength and the achdut (unity) and the love of the Jewish people in order to do what you should have done a long time ago, to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley… and to actually implement it.” Only then, Matar claimed, would the Jewish people be able to live securely in their own land.

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau also spoke Tuesday about the historical significance of the fast of the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av, and of the special feeling during this particular year, in light of Operation Protective Edge.

“The meaning of Tisha B’av, this year, is of fixing, of correcting, the crime, the sin, made in the desert, which created Tisha B’av: we didn’t want to come to Eretz Israel.”

Rabbi Michael Melchior spoke on Monday night at a dialogue evening in Tel-Aviv. He said that, “For sure, today, we see that the meaning and the consequence of how we commemorate the destruction of the Temple and what we put into these days… There is a desire for people to come together (and talk about) what does this day mean, what to midrashim (homiletic stories) about the churban (destruction of the Temple) tell us about society today?”

Rabbi Melchior’s program, along with many other programs within the framework of the “Tonight we are not learning Torah,” (a reference to the fact that Torah study is forbidden on Tisha B'Av, apart from tracts relating to the day itself) took place on Monday night in over 25 locations across the country, including in the Gaza Envelope. Topics up for discussion including religious – secular affairs, Israeli – Palestinian Arab affairs, Israel as a democratic and religious state, and more.