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אש –Thoughts on Tisha B’Av

The 9th of Av this year was observed on Tuesday, the saddest day of the year, with plenty of reason. The following is from Chabad.

The 9th Day of Av (the 11th Jewish month) is first mentioned in the book of Zechariah 7:3.  One of four Jewish fast days, it commemorates dramatic national catastrophes (related to the destruction of Jerusalem), in an attempt to benefit from history by avoiding – rather than repeating1 – critical, moral and strategic missteps.  It concludes the 21 days of predicament and lamentation, which began when the walls of Jerusalem were breached by Nebuchadnezzar (1st Temple) and Titus (2nd Temple), launching a seven-week period of consolation, ingathering and renewal.

There are many major Jewish calamities are commemorated on the 9th Day of Av:

* Unlike Joshua & Caleb, the other “ten spies/tribal presidents” slandered the Land of Israel, preferring immediate convenience and conventional “wisdom” over faith and long term vision, thus prolonging the wandering in the desert for 40 years, before settling the Promised Land;

*The destruction of the First Temple and Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (586 BCE) resulted in the massacre of 100,000 Jews and a massive national exile;

*The destruction of the Second Temple and Jerusalem by Titus of Rome (70 CE) triggered the massacre of 1-2 million Jews and another massive national exile, aiming to annihilate Judaism and the Jewish people;

*The Ten Martyrs – ten leading rabbis – executed by the Roman Empire;

*The Bar Kokhbah Revolt was crushed with the killing of Bar Kokhbah, the fall of his Beitar headquarters south of Jerusalem in Judea and Samaria (135 CE) by Hadrian, who still afflicts us to this day by having changed the name of the land to “Falestine” as a poke in the eye to the Jews referencing their ancient enemy the Philistines. The plowing of Jerusalem, and the killing of 600,000 Jews by the Roman Empire;

*The pogroms of the First Crusade (1096-1099) massacred tens of thousands of Jews in Germany, France, Italy and Britain;

*The Jewish expulsion from Britain (1290);

*The Jewish expulsion from Spain (1492);

*The eruption of the First World War (1914);

*The beginning of the 1942 deportation of Warsaw Ghetto Jews to the Treblinka extermination camp.

This year was in some ways a more horrible than usual observance. It was just a few short days ago that the Knesset voted to take down the magnetometers. I touched on that in Neve Tzuf, but Caroline Glick does an excellent job of explaining how that decision was made. Turns out Bibi caved to….wait for it….the IDF and Shin Bet. No, I’m not kidding. This column is well worth reading. Losing and winning the Temple Mount. It actually makes a lot of sense if you remember the column Moshe Feiglin of the Zehut party wrote last year about “The Soldier Who Fired A Defense Minister”. It appears some of the people at the top levels in the IDF attended the John Kerry school of military studies. School motto “The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.”~~George Orwell

So let’s take a quick look at that “sacred” tenet often referred to “Status Quo”. This data comes from this week’s episode of Walter’s World with Walter Bingham. This episode he had two security experts on, one of them is Alan Baker, the former Israeli Ambassador to Canada. The topic of the show is what is the status quo? Meaning what does the term itself mean.

Originally, the status quo began in the 19th century with the Turkish Ottoman Sultan who issued a decree that involved seven holy places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem and affected only Christians. It gave priority to the Orthodox. Then in 1967 when Israel won control of Jerusalem in a war it did not start a new status quo arrangement was made. Israel decided to remove the Israeli flag, army units and Rabbi Shlomo Goren from the Temple Mount and give control back to the wafq-kos. Because administering the site brings in income for them, it’s another reason they want it. Then the Chief Temple Rabbi approved Jews being sent to the Kotel to pray instead.

So about this sovereignty, Abu Mazen claims they have sovereignty, Israel claims they do. No one has had sovereignty since the Ottoman rule ended in 1922. The Jordanians didn’t have sovereignty when they took control of it by hostile take over either. Only Pakistan recognized Jordanian control, the international courts and the U.N. never did. The status quo was an informal, non-binding arrangement to enable the day to day functioning. Israel was in control after it took over control from Jordan and extended it’s laws and administration over all of Jerusalem. While it guarantees freedom of access and worship, issues of sovereignty were never mentioned. The same laws apply in Jerusalem as do Tel Aviv and Be’er Sheva. The peace treaty with Jordan made no mention of the status quo, and Jordan did not ask. Israel has FULL responsibility for security. The status quo NEVER regulated security, it regulates day to day events, like prayers. Even if you take the lowest U.N. (necessary) opinion of Israel, that they are “occupiers”, that Jerusalem is occupied territory, according to the laws of occupation, and the Hague rules of 1907 it would be Israel’s duty to maintain the public order and security. That is the opinion of International law as well.

So, how did Tisha B’Av go this year on the Temple Mount? Well, according to another one of my favorite programs, Temple Talk, it was…amazing. Rabbi Chaim said he arrived at 0610 and there were already hundreds of Jews lined up waiting to visit through the one gate non-Muslims are allowed to use. There had been speculation and trepidation that after the shameful caving of the Knesset and Prime Minister Netanyahu that the pieceful Falestinians would riot or incite violence because when they’ve done that in the past, the police reward them by shutting down the Temple Mount to……the Jews. But this year, this year was different. Very different. There is speculation that it’s the new Police Commissioner. The TT show said the police now greet you, it tends to be the same crew and they are polite and encouraging. They want everyone that comes to get to go up on the Temple Mount. The TT hosts said they were expecting the wafq-kos to really be following everyone closely and up in their faces, but it didn’t happen. The police kept the wafq-kos at a distance, there were very few muslims on the Temple Mount and the ones that were there were not allowed to cause problems. While no open prayer was allowed, the police did an outstanding job of maintaining order. The hosts of the show said that there is a Spiritual upheaval and renewal afoot, and everyone knows it, that it’s been building for decades. As it turns out, 1,263 Jews, an unprecedented number visited the Temple Mount this Tisha B’Av this year. I saw in another report the wafq-kos also said it was unprecedented, as well as unacceptable. The Israeli police have shown the way. It is possible to maintain principles, order on the Temple Mount and not cave in to terrorist demands.

I saw a movie recently, in a theater. A real one. I don’t go to many/any movies usually. I don’t think they make very good movies any more, and I’m not inclined to give my money to actors/actresses that will use it to further their bully pulpit and denigrate my values, culture and self-defense rights.

But there was a good reason I went to this one. It was made in 1977, so not a new movie. It’s called מבצה יונתן or Mivtza Yonatan. It’s about the raid on Entebbe that happened on 4th July 1976. An Air France plane was hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Falestine. There are some interesting points I’d like to bring out. One, the movie was made only a year after the event. Two, the movie was pro-Israel and pro-IDF. While it was an Israeli made movie, do you think such a thing would happen today? I don’t. Then there were some of the lines that were said in it that struck me. One was when the doctor that was on board asks one of the German female terrorists “Why? Haven’t we done enough to the Jews?” She answers they are fighting for world freedom, they aren’t fighting the Jews, they are fighting the Imperial Zionist. Another line is when Sayeret Metkal begins to plan the potential rescue options. After Yoni comes back from a meeting with the powers that be, Yitzak Rabin was P.M. at the time, his staff asks him what happened and the remark is made nothing will happen because their government will never go for it because of world opinion. After the Jews have been separated out from the other passengers one of them asks a male German terrorist what he hopes to accomplish with all this. He says the world is dirty and it needs to be destroyed and rebuilt. That the Israelis stole Falestinian land and used German money to do it. And the last line is two newspaper reporters that are waiting in Israel reporting the events. One says to the other that if the Jews give in, no one will be safe, there will be an epidemic of sky-jacking. Now, I know these are all lines in a movie, but the female German Terrorist sounds like a modern day spokesperson for the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement. I think the male German terrorist is a bit confused, if German money was used, what was “stolen”? Not all the terrorists were German, some were pieceful Arabs. And despite this, Rabin signed the Oslo accords. He didn’t learn, and things have been worse since. And despite knowing that was the Falestinians and their supporters have been doing for a very long time, Bibi still caved. He didn’t learn either.

And what was the fallout from the “world”?

From Wikipedia

The United Nations Security Council convened on 9 July 1976, to consider a complaint from the Chairman of the Organization of African Unity charging Israel with an “act of aggression”. The Council allowed Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Chaim Herzog, and Uganda’s foreign minister, Juma Oris Abdalla, to participate without voting rights. UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim told the Security Council that the raid was “a serious violation of the sovereignty of a Member State of the United Nations” though he was “fully aware that this is not the only element involved … when the world community is now required to deal with unprecedented problems arising from international terrorism.” Abdalla, the representative of Uganda, alleged that the affair was close to a peaceful resolution when Israel intervened while Herzog, the representative of Israel, accused Uganda of direct complicity in the hijacking. The US and UK sponsored a resolution which condemned hijacking and similar acts, deplored the loss of life arising from the hijacking (without condemning either Israel or Uganda), reaffirmed the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States, and called on the international community to enhance the safety of civil aviation. However, the resolution failed to receive the required number of affirmative votes due to 2 abstentions and 7 absences. A second resolution sponsored by Benin, Libya and Tanzania, that condemned Israel, was not put to the vote.

Western nations spoke in support of the raid. West Germany called the raid “an act of self-defence”. Switzerland and France praised the operation. Representatives of the United Kingdom and United States offered significant praise, calling the Entebbe raid “an impossible operation”. Some in the United States noted that the hostages were freed on 4 July 1976, 200 years after the signing of the US declaration of independence. In private conversation with Israeli Ambassador Dinitz, Henry Kissinger sounded criticism for Israeli use of US equipment during the operation, but that criticism was not made public at the time. In mid-July 1976, the supercarrier USS Ranger and her escorts entered the Indian Ocean and operated off the Kenyan coast in response to a threat of military action by forces from Uganda.

I never did like Kissinger. But the point is, not much has changed has it? The Falestinians are terrorist, a majority of Israeli Jews believe at least half of the F.A. residents are terrorists or support terrorism a new study shows. Israeli/Jewish life appears to be cheap to the world. The world gets it’s panties in a twist when Jews defend themselves be it in Entebbe or the Temple Mount.

But while the Temple still has not been, I hope and pray Rabbi Chaim and Yitzchk Reuven are correct and there is a spiritual awakening afoot, that the Temple Mount really will stay “In our hands”.

At the start of the movie Operation Yonatan, Yoni is training “The Unit” to rescue hostages from a skyjacked plane. The movie is in Hebrew, but it has subtitles. The command to enter the plane simultaneously through multiple windows was “אש” “esh”, meaning “fire” because they were going to commence firing upon gaining entry to the plane. Those men were willing and able to put boots to windows and boldly enter and take control for the safety and very lives of those held hostage by terrorists. That I think my friends, is the attitude we should have. We should be willing to put boots to the barriers that separate us from those people, places and things held hostage by old, timid, outdated, erroneous or terrorist beliefs or threats. Not necessarily with guns and RPGs, but with courage, knowledge and conviction in our hearts and our minds.

I will leave you with this beautiful, beautiful Tisha B’Av movie made by the Temple Institute in Jerusalem. It’s only a couple minutes long.

אש

1Rather than repeating? How many times have how many people given away the Temple Mount. Perhaps it should be apply, not just read.

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