As in every year for the past 19 years, the traditional Tisha B’Av Walk, with the participation of public figures, will be held.
However, this year the Walk will depart considerably late, because of instructions issued by the police, who wish to allow the Muslims to complete the Ramadan events on the Temple Mount before the Jewish Walk has even set off.
The organizers of the Walk, ‘Women in Green’ leaders Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, remind us that Tisha B’Av night fell during the month of Ramadan last year as well, and the police had requested to completely change the route of the traditional Walk, under the pretext of a concern for public safety. Katsover and Matar appealed to the Supreme Court and, sure enough, 2 days later the police withdrew its objection, but not before instructing that the event be postponed to 11:00pm.
At the beginning of the restoration of the traditional Tisha B’Av Walk 19 years ago, the initiative had also been met with resistance by the police. In those days the police refused to approve the Walk to be held. “They never imagined that Jews would march there, in what they called “East Jerusalem”, in the place where only Arabs roam”, Katsover and Matar reminisce and add: “We turned to the Supreme Court and said that if this is the sovereign, unified undivided capital of Israel, there is no way we can not march there, and sure enough, we won, and the tradition of the Walk set out, literally and figuratively”.
This year, probably due to past experiences and the fear of yet another legal embarrassment, the police decided not to demand the alteration of the route of the Walk, yet at the same time instructed to postpone it to 11:30 pm, after the Muslims have completed their prayers and have left the Temple Mount area.
Katsover and Matar raise the concern that among the considerations for postponing the departure the Walk, might also nestle the police’s hope that a more limited amount of marchers will show up due to the late hour. “It should be pointed out that during the 18 years that the Walk has been held, there has not been a single case of friction or confrontation between the marchers and the local Muslims, a fact that reinforces the sense of frustration and anger following the decision of the police”, say the two.
“This is a disgrace. In the independent State of Israel, in sovereign Jerusalem, logic is working backwards. The Arabs go up to the Temple Mount, but the Jews can only pray at the Western Wall. In a sovereign state, the Jews’ events will only be held after the Arabs’ events are finished. Why? Ask the police! Someone there still hasn’t internalized that Jewish national events should take precedence. Apparently, we are still in the diaspora, and we still bend over to the demands of the gentiles”, say Katsover and Matar, who are convinced that “the late hour at which the Walk commences will not deter the masses from coming. On the contrary. It will bring more people”, they declare.
The event, which will be held on Tisha B’Av night (the night between Monday and Tuesday, July 15th 2013), is expected to be attended by the Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs, MK Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan, Deputy Defence Minister MK Danny Danon, Chairman of Professors for a Strong Israel, Prof. Aryeh Eldad, and Chairman of the Israel Land Fund, Aryeh King.
The Walk will begin with a public reading ceremony of the Book of Lamentations (the Scroll of Eicha) at 10:30pm in Independence Park, located in downtown Jerusalem. At 11:30pm the Walk itself will set off along the following route: Independence Park, The New Gate (Sha’ar HaKha’dash), Damascus Gate (Sha’ar Sh’chem), Herod’s Gate (Sha’ar HaPrakhim), Lions’ Gate (Sha’ar Ha’A’ra’yot), where speeches will be made, and from there to Dung Gate (Sha’ar Ha’Ashpot) near the Western Wall.
Yehudit Katsover: 050-716-1818
Nadia Matar: 050-550-0834
The Movement for Israel’s Tomorrow (Women in Green)
About the Author: Nadia Matar is one of the founders of the Women in Green
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