9 Av 5777
1 August 2017
Israelstreet wishes all of you who are fasting today a Tsom Kal (easy fast) as we remember the tragedy that befell us when our First and Second Temples were destroyed.
Some years ago, it was a regular feature of this blog to give you various updates as to how many visits we have to the website, how many new visitors we have to the site, and what countries they come from. Our goal is to reach as many readers as possible, but more specifically we aim for about 175,000 visits, 5000 new visitors, and 75 different countries.
Beginning with today, we will begin again updating that information once per month.
For the month of July, israelstreet was visited 281,968 times; we had 6938 “first time” visitors”, and we had visitors from 93 countries spanning the globe from Mongolia to Estonia to Nigeria to Chile to Tonga.
However you want to describe it, July was a banner month for israelstreet!
Wherever you are, thank you for helping your humble servant get the word out about what is going on in Israel!
Tisha B’Av 5777 in Jerusalem: An Amazing Night (Part 1)
As I mentioned yesterday, my wife and I have been spending our Tisha B’Av the way we always do– here in Jerusalem.
We always begin on the rooftop terrace at the Mamilla Hotel which arguably has one of the best views of the northern wall of the Old City. We like to get there before the sun goes down and watch the night gradually envelop the City in a thousand twinkling lights.
However, we have a bittersweet reason for choosing this particular location. We like to imagine that the year is 70 CE, and we are in the midst of the horror that is about to unfold as the Roman soldiers break through northern defenses to the city, slaughter the inhabitants of the city, and set fire to the Second Temple.
We like to thank G_d that Israel has been reborn, we have retaken our capital city, and that we will never let it be destroyed or ourselves slaughtered again.
From the terrace we took a short walk on Agron St. to Independence Park* which is across from the American consulate. The Park was the staging area for the incredible Women In Green who were holding their 22nd annual Tisha B’Av march. The Women in Green are a wonderfully tenacious group that fights for Israeli sovereignty throughout Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem.
By the time we arrived, at least 500 people were already there. The Eicha was being read, the tragic Book of Lamentations believed to have been written by Jeremiah after the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE.
Before the march started, we talked to excited people from all over the world, from countries such as Argentina, Denmark, France, Azerbaijan, Finland, Nigeria, and the United States to name a few. We found that as usual, many of those participating came on buses from Judea and Samaria.
There was a buzz in the air; we were all thrilled to be there, thrilled to be standing up for Israeli sovereignty in the face of our government’s impotent fiasco on the Temple Mount during the last few weeks. We were determined to show that as much as the Netanyahu government appeared to abandon Israeli sovereignty over the Mount, we would not let it do so.
When the word came that we would be able to march the route that would take us along the northern wall, next to the Muslim section, and then to the eastern wall until we stopped at Lion’s Gate where our two Druze policemen were murdered two and a half weeks ago and where tens of thousands of Arabs have been rioting–we were ecstatic!
And that is where I will leave you today dear reader: the time is 11:00 pm on Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem. When we resume tomorrow, we will continue heading down the north wall past the Damascus Gate and then make a right turn along the east wall and go to the Lion’s Gate. And then it’s on to the Kotel!
*Independence Park is sometimes called “peace” park by locals who go there to picnic and have “peace” from the bustle of Jerusalem–even though the actual Peace Park is elsewhere in the city.