Tisha B'Av - Remembering the destruction of the Temples

Police deployed in large forces in Old City for protection as Jews prepare to fast to commemorate destruction of the Holy Temples.

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Israel Police and Border Police are being deployed in large numbers in the Old City of Jerusalem to protect worshippers at the Western Wall for the fast of Tisha B'Av, which began tonight (Monday).

The fast, which takes place annually on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, commemorates the destruction of the two Holy Temples by the Babylonian and Roman empires in 586 BCE and 70 CE, respectively. Religious Jews refrain from eating and drinking for a 25 hour period of mourning. They also refrain from wearing leather shoes and bathing and do not sit on anything higher than a 1-foot high stool until midday. They do not greet one another on the eve of the fast and there is no Torah study because it gladdens the heart.

Those who do not go to the Kotel flock to synagogues for the reading of Megillat Eicha, the Book of Lamentations written by the Prophet Jeremiah who lived through the First Temple destruction. Lights are dimmed and worshipers sit on low stools or the floor as the dirge is chanted, ending with words: "Let us return to You, renew our days as of old."

Click here to see the live cameras at the Western Wall from Arutz Sheva and ILTV.

The Women in Green NGO will hold its annual Tisha B'Av march from the Independence Park to the Dung Gate in the Old City tonight. A number of streets in the capital will be closed for the March, beginning at 10 PM Jerusalem time, including Agron, Shlomo Hamelech, Hativat Yerushalayim, Kikar Tzahal (IDF Square), Sultan Suleiman, Derech Yericho and Haophel streets.

Police have completed preparations for other Tisha B'Av events, which begin tonight and continue until tomorrow. In anticipation of the end of the fast, the police will prepare for the arrival of thousands of worshipers to the Western Wall. From 5 pm on Tuesday, the Old City will be closed to private vehicles, except for residents of the area. Vehicles with a window tag for the disabled will enter the Old City via the Zion Gate.

The public is asked to refrain from trying to reach the Old City area by private vehicles and to use public transportation.