For the first time ever, there will be no police restrictions in this year’s evening walk around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem — a 20-year tradition begun and maintained by the Women in Green watchdog organization.
This year thousands of participants are expected to join leading public figures and rabbis in the annual Tisha B’Av event. Deputy Defense Minister MK Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan has said he will participate along with MK Bezalel Smotrich, Professor Arye Eldad, Rabbi Yosef Medelevitch and Arye Klein.
The event will begin in Jerusalem’s centrally-located Independence Park with a public reading of the Scroll of Lamentations. Immediately afterwards, the walk itself will begin via the New Gate, Damascus Gate, Herod’s Gate and the Lion’s Gate, where participants are to gather to hear speeches by the public figures leading the walk.
The heads of Women in Green, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, note that in past years there were attempts to reroute the walk away from areas determined to be foci of friction with the Muslim population, and in some years there were attempts to have the walk cancelled altogether.
None of the previous walks resulted in any confrontations, however.
This year, the police refrained from any imposing any restrictions and the Women in Green organizers said they were pleased. “Especially now, a massive Jewish presence in the walk is important, which expresses the longing for full Israeli sovereignty in all parts of Jerusalem, as well as in all parts of the Land of Israel,” the two organizers said.
The walk initiated 21 years ago with a few hundred participants has gained great momentum and strength over the years; thousands of participants now gather from every part of Israel each year and even from abroad, along with many public figures.
“It has become a tradition that expresses national pride and aspiration for Israeli sovereignty and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple,” the two women said.
The gathering for the reading of the Megilla in Gan Ha’Atzma’ut (Independence Park) will begin at 9:30 pm Saturday night (July 25) and the walk itself will commence at 10:30 pm.
For further details contact Yehudit Katsover at 050-716-1818 or Nadia Matar at 050-550-0834. May we all merit to see the Tisha B’Av fast transformed to a feast of joy!