Those who wonder why we need a day of mourning for the Temple when we have a state, a Knesset, a government, a flag, an army, and a police force got their answer this past month.
We tried to create the trappings of nationalism bereft of any hint of Judaism so that we could be a “normal” nation. But it turns out that without the Judaism that we have tried so hard to shed, we are anything but normal.
Arab terrorists have murdered two policemen, and a family and those who perpetrated the murders are now the national heroes of the Arab minority in Israel. Tens of thousands of Arabs streamed to the funerals of the three terrorists from the Temple Mount as the multitude glorified them and their vicious act.
The Arabs who live among us are rearing their heads – rightfully so – because we do not believe in ourselves. We have forgotten where we come from and do not understand where we are going. As a result, we are losing our self-confidence. Under these circumstances, even the pilot of the most sophisticated F-35 or the most advanced submarine cannot stand up to a young girl from Shechem brandishing a pair of scissors who knows what she is doing here.
Israel’s sense of justice and identity is rooted in the Temple Mount and the Temple. The foundation of our existence is thus rooted there too. When we lose our basic sense of justice and identity, we can’t even put up a metal detector to protect our security forces.
Tisha B’Av is more relevant than ever. Despite the glorious army and wondrous state we have built, something about Tisha B’Av attracts young Israelis. Just like the Seder night on Pesach, Tisha B’Av has been transformed into a special day that has risen out of narrow religion to claim its rightful place in Israeli culture. The Seder night returns us to our family identity while Tisha B’Av connects us to our national identity, which is replete with a burning longing and a broad message of perfecting the world.
Ultimately, the foundation of our national identity must be bonded with the Temple and the Temple Mount. We do not have anything else to bond with. Our national identity is not falafel or service in the IDF. The focal point of our identity is Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and the Temple.