A special Tisha B’Av program was held in Petah Tikvah on Monday on the subject of Jewish unity.

The program, which is part of a series of programs entitled ‘Tonight We Do Not Learn Torah’ running in various locations in Israel, brings together secular and religious Israelis who read the Scroll of Eicha together and continue with discussions of the meaning of the destruction of the Temples and the implications for Jewish history, nationalism, and unity.

“It’s a very sad day and it speaks about the two tragedies that happened in our long history, yet at the same time I believe that we should think positively this night,” MK Nachman Shai (Kadima), who took part in the event, told Arutz Sheva.

Shai said that he believes on Tisha B’Av, Israelis should think about “what we’ve achieved in our short history as a state and people, and also to look forward to a better future. We’ve done so much here and it’s served as a very strong foundation of the very existence of the state of Israel, of the people of Israel, of what they can do, and of what they will do in the future.”

Rabbi Yona Goodman, Educator of Orot College, who also took part in the program, spoke of the connection between the special evening and the ongoing social protests in Israel.

“I think that anybody who reads the kinot, who reads Eicha, and anybody who listens to the prophets knows that there is a direct line between our capability to live together and a truer and stronger redemption,” he said.

“I think we really have to believe by ourselves that ‘Derech Eretz Kadma LaTorah’ (Derech eretz comes before Torah),” he said. “First we have to learn how to live together as a people and then we will be worthy of G-d reappearing in our generation. The only way for us to be eligible to receive the Holy Temple again is by us learning to live together.”

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