Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson
Jews at the Lions Gate on Tisha B'Av eve 5777.

Thousands of participants from all parts of the Land of Israel took part last night, the eve of Tisha b’Av, in the traditional walk around the walls of Jerusalem organised by Women in Green.

The Israel Police gave their permission for the walk, at the 11th hour, a short time before the beginning of the event, which began with a mass reading of Eichah (Lamentations) at Independence Park in Jerusalem.

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Some time before the walk, the police received information about Arab plans to protest the walk. Among other things, there was an announcement calling for the Arabs of east Jerusalem “to stop the settlers’ march around the gates to the Western Wall”. The Arab proclamation noted the hour when the walk was to set out so that the Arabs of the city could take part in blocking the walk. Luckily this did not deter anyone and the police allowed the walk.

The walk began and ended with the screening of special short films that included the words of public figures and citizens on their personal and national connection to Jerusalem. A short film was also shown in which winner of the Israel Prize, former MK Geula Cohen, spoke, telling of the political path that she took to pass the law to apply Israeli sovereignty on eastern Jerusalem.

Afterward, the thousands of participants walked on a route that included the Damascus Gate, Herod’s Gate, and Sultan Suleiman Road, locations where terror attacks and riots have occurred in recent weeks.

Over the entire route, the leaders of the march, and the marchers themselves, expressed thanks and appreciation for the dozens of police and border police who were stationed, openly or covertly, in order to secure the march and to ensure the safety of the marchers.

The gathering at the end of the walk began with harsh words by Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, that while in recent years there are those who do not understand the reason for grief in the period of the sprouting of redemption, “this year the answer is simpler – the Arabs reminded us that although we indeed did liberate Jerusalem, we have not liberated ourselves from exile. Again and again, we “bowed down to the (Jordanian) king”, the WAQF and the “paritz” from the Left. What do the Stawi and Shnaan families think, whose sons were murdered while on guard duty at the Temple Mount? What do they think about the disgraceful surrender of the government of Israel? What does this say to them?”

Katsover and Matar see the masses that came to the walk and the following gathering as a sort of correction to the severe harm to the honor of the People and the nation. “Thousands marched fearlessly, carrying Israeli flags with pride in places where an attack might have happened any moment, but with the protection and efforts of the Police and the Border Police, who were deployed both openly and covertly, with professionalism and dedication, the march took place under full security. In this, there is the start of a correction to what happened in the past few weeks”.

Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katzover speak to the crowd.
Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katzover speak to the crowd.

MK Yehuda Glick focused his words on insights from recent events in Jerusalem and directly addressed the officers of the Israel Police and Border Police who accompanied and secured the march and the assembly: “This past year you have paid a very heavy price. Five police officers were murdered here. We all saw that the front is here. There were years in which it was in Kiryat Shmona and there were years when it was in Sderot. Now, we have come to the root, which is here, behind this gate”, he said, indicating the Temple Mount that is behind the nearby Lions Gate.

“We have experienced three weeks of difficult crises, but let us not forget that we can overcome, even if the locals have a sense of temporary victory. I have contempt for the people who sees a person that murders a family on the eve of Shabbat as its hero; I have contempt for a people that rejoices at the funeral of three murderers in Um-al-Fahm, I have contempt for a people that is supported financially by murderers”. And to this, he added: “Justice is on our side. Ethics is on our side and we must not break. Even when there are difficult times, we must not forget that we are in a different place, we have a state, we have a military and we have the Israel Police with officers who have national pride. I have known the police for years. With the command that was in the past, this march would not have happened. We must thank them for understanding that the function of the police is not to say what cannot be done, but how it can be done. The public expects the police to go forward with it. The people pulls its leaders, as Rav Kook said”.

Deputy Minister of Defense, MK Rav Eli Ben-Dahan began by saying that “Everyone who came here has proven with his body and his legs that we want the Temple here, and quickly”.

“We continue with the mass reading of ‘Turn us to you, O Lord, and we will return; renew our days as of old’. How will we renew our days as of old? Only when we declare our sovereignty over the Mount of G-d’s House and we establish the Temple and the Jews will be able to pray in it. It cannot be that everyone can pray here and only for Jews it is not allowed. We appeal to the government of Israel and this cry will destroy the fears. There is no power in the world that can prevent the Jews of the world from praying in this holy place. If we say this without hesitation, we will achieve it and succeed”.

During the gathering, Menahem Abie Levi of Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, one of the fighters who took part in the historic breakthrough into Jerusalem in the Six Day war, also spoke. Levi told of the days of the war and the moments in which his orders were changed. At first, he was supposed to be sent along with his friends to parachute into Sinai, and instead of this they were sent “to liberate Jerusalem. My battalion got a task to conquer the Police Academy, Giv’at Hatahmoshet (Ammunition Hill), and from there to Augusta Victoria and then to descend to the Old City”.

Levi told of the loss of his friends in the difficult battle of Ammunition Hill, but he focused on the phase when he and his friends went up via the Lions Gate to the entrance to the Temple Mount. He ended his stirring story with a poem and a refrain from the poem, “The Kotel”.

Jacques Kupfer, chairman of Beitar and Israel Forever, was very critical about Israel’s conduct immediately after the Six Day War and in these days as well. “It is difficult for me to understand how things happen. It is difficult for me to understand the situation where they shoot and kill our people and they are the ones who demand a day of rage. They kill a family during the Shabbat meal, come into our houses in order to sow ruin and they are the ones who have a day of rage. They go through magnetometers at the clinic or at the National Insurance office when they want to get a payment, but at our Temple Mount they will not pass through and they have a day of rage… When will there be a Jewish day of rage that will bring the People of Israel back to all parts of the Land of Israel? When will there be a Jewish day of rage? How much more time will we stand for the answer ‘don’t be right, be wise’. So many experts explain this to us, but what is sure is that they are not right and not wise”.

The last to speak at the gathering was Yishai Fleisher, one of the spokesmen of the Jewish community in Hebron, who addressed the English-speaking community. Fleisher stated that today, just as there is much talk about the term “fake news”, there is also “fake truth”.
“Constantly there are statements that may appear to be true but they are not. They are false. For instance, the fact that the King of Jordan is a king, when the truth is that he is not, but only a puppet that is protected by Israel. Without Israel he would not survive, and the terrible reality is that this “fake king” is the one who decides what happens on the Temple Mount. How can this be? This falsehood is happening in contrast to the real truth and the true King – the King of Kings who gave us this Land. But in the end it turns out that the real truth, and not the fake one, is what will win”.

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