Tisha B’Av – a day of mourning for the destruction of the Temples – has just drawn to a close here in Israel. Here you see stones from the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, in the Jerusalem Archaeological Garden.
We mark the calamities that have befallen us with fasting and the reciting of Eicha – Lamentations. During the course of the day, many of us attend shiurim – lessons of a religious nature.
Then we leave off mourning and look about us. Hopefully we have been touched in some meaningful way.
What has meaning for me this day is the powerful sense that it is not enough to mourn what is bad:
1) Certainly, we cannot turn away: we must see with clear eyes and stay well-informed.
2) But we must also embrace what is good.
3) And then…then we must find ways to make what is bad better. We cannot do it all, but I suggest it is forbidden to do nothing.
1) I write these postings in order to inform. Additionally, I have designed an extensive – attractive – website that provides a wealth of information, and I am always adding more.
Fervently do I hope you will make use of this material. It is waiting for you.
2) With all of the enormous problems we face, Israel is a special and wonderful place – rich in accomplishments, especially medical accomplishments, and abounding in acts of kindness. We are home to a vast number of astounding archeological discoveries, and boast a topography that is magnificent.
We should never forget any of this.
For a long time I included “good news” in every posting. But then the “bad” news seemed so overwhelming that the good stuff began to get lost. Now I have caught myself up on this. The good news is not less important: it buoys us and inspires us, and provides an essential perspective.
At the end of this posting you will find a few good news items, and I hope to reinstate this practice on a regular basis. What is more, I am going to work on designing a “good news” section on my website.
3) Here is the tough part: Acting to make things better. As I have suggested above – as you, dear readers, already know – the situation is horrendous.
Thus it falls to us who care deeply about the issues to actively respond. I am not speaking about a one-time response, but rather an approach that is sustained.
In Israel, I see especially the need to protect our rights to the Land in the face of a government that includes an Islamic Arab faction. I have been writing about this and will continue to do so.
As the Temples whose destruction we mourn were situated on Har Habayit (The Temple Mount), it is hardly surprising that many Jews sought to ascend to the Mount today – in all, over the course of the day, there were some 1,600 Jews on the Mount. Arabs, incensed at the presence of Jews in considerable numbers, responded with violence. Below you see some of the rocks, discovered by security personnel, which were stockpiled by Arabs early in the day in preparation for riots:
Stones were thrown from inside the Al Aksa Mosque and Arab rioters clashed with police.
The Ra’am Party – which is part of the coalition – put out a statement:
“Al-Aqsa Mosque, in its 144 dunams [35.6 acres], is solely the property of Muslims, and no one else has any right to it…the events that may result from it [Jews on the Mount] could inflame the situation in Jerusalem and the entire region, leading to a catastrophic religious war.”
Note the threat, which is typical.
Maintained Ra’am: “The people of the UAL [Ra’am Party] and the activists of the Islamic Movement will defend the sanctity of Al-Aksa Mosque with their bodies.”
Prime Minister Bennett met with security officials early in the day and made the decision to allow Jewish worshippers to ascend the Mount during the course of the day. This has not always been the decision when Arabs rioted on the Mount – it has often been considered “easier” to block Jews from ascending to prevent rioting. This is what the Arabs count on.
The prime minister is to be praised and strongly supported for taking this position, which, quite frankly, took me by surprise.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Bennett “thanked the public security minister and the Israel Police [chief] for managing the events on the Temple Mount with responsibility and consideration, while maintaining freedom of worship for Jews on the Mount.” (Emphasis added)
This wording suggested a change in the so-called “status quo” on the Mount (which holds that Jews can go up to the Mount but not pray). A spokesman for Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, denying that this was the case, said that there is “no change in policy” atop the Temple Mount. However, it has been noted that no prime minister ever referred to “freedom of worship for Jews on the Mount” until today.
And the fact of the matter is that Jews have been quietly praying on the Mount for some months now. The right of Jews to do so is something which must be supported and encouraged.
“Channel 12’s religious affairs reporter Yair Cherki filmed prayers at the site in recent days, as policemen — who in the past would eject any person suspected of prayer, and sometimes kicked people out for merely citing a biblical verse while speaking — passively looked on.
“’For months now, every morning this unofficial prayer quorum has been praying on the Temple Mount,’ Cherki said. The worshipers gather without prayer books, tefillin or any other symbols of prayer that could draw unwanted attention from Muslims at the compound that houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
When the Arabs refer to “the status quo” they are presumed to be referring to the (abysmal) terms set out by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan after Israel gained control of the Temple Mount in 1967. But this is a crock! Slowly over the decades, the Arabs have usurped more control over the Mount.
For a full picture, see:
Signs that this may be reversing now are cause for joy – but there is a great deal to be done!
By the way, King Abdullah II of Jordan registered a complaint today because Jews were permitted on the Mount. This, of course, is the same Abdullah with whom Bennett allegedly has a new, warmer relationship – a relationship about which Abdullah expressed pleasure. Pleasure because Israel had, among other things, agreed to make available to Jordan a considerable volume of water.
At that point I had written about the need for a two-way relationship – one in which we not only give, but get. And nu?
I will carry through on the theme above when next I post, and additionally consider a matter of extreme seriousness in the US, as an ever-growing number of left-wing American Jews embrace horrendous lies about Israel.
We must not only inform ourselves but grapple with great seriousness as to what to do about the situation.
On a regular basis archaeological exploration reveals more of our early history:
“Archaeological excavations at the City of David National Park in the Old City of Jerusalem have unearthed the remains of an Iron Age city wall, constructed in the First Temple era, which was designed to protect Jerusalem against attacks from the east, the Israel Antiquities Authority reported on Tuesday…
“According to excavation directors Dr. Filip Vukosavović, of the Ancient Jerusalem Research Center, and Dr. Joe Uziel and Ortal Chalaf on behalf of the IAA, the unearthed city wall protected Jerusalem from ‘a number of attacks during the reign of the kings of Judah, until the arrival of the Babylonians, who managed to break through it and conquer the city.’
“’The remains of the ruins can be seen in the archaeological excavations. However, not everything was destroyed, and parts of the walls, which stood and protected the city for decades and more, remain standing to this day,’ the archaeologists said.”
On the diplomatic front, there are good things happening:
“The United Arab Emirates opened its embassy to Israel in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) building on Wednesday, marking a new phase in the growing relations between the countries.
“’This embassy is not just a hub for diplomats, but a base to continue in our new partnership,’ UAE Ambassador Mohamed Al Khaja said. ‘It marks a new paradigm for peace and a model for a new collaborative approach for conflict resolution.’”
The Israel National Cyber Directorate has signed a cybersecurity cooperation agreement with Morocco.
Signed in Rabat, the accord is for operational cooperation, research and development and the sharing of information and knowledge.
Slovakia’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Ivan Korcok has announced that the Slovak Institute in Jerusalem will open on September 1.
The move represents an upgrade in the status of its diplomatic mission, and indicates “deepening relations” with Israel.
The move means Slovakia will upgrade the status of its diplomatic mission in Jerusalem so that it now falls under the country’s Foreign Ministry.
Just over three weeks ago, Honduras moved its embassy to Jerusalem. Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, flew to Israel to participate in the event.