First things first, the 23rd traditional Tisha B’Av night walk around the Old City of Jerusalem will take place as scheduled, Monday July 31, starting with the Eicha reading in Independence Park on Agron Street at 9:00 PM. The walk will begin after the reading, at 9:45 PM.
As always, the walk this year will feature its share of celebrities: Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Environmental Protection Zeev Elkin, minister; Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan; MK Yehuda Glick; Menahem Aby Levi who participated in the liberation of Jerusalem; Yishai Fleisher, international spokesman for the Hebron community; Jacques Kupfer, Chair of Israel is Forever; and historian Arieh Klein.
Here’s why it’s even more important than in past years that you make the effort to show up and participate: the final decision to authorize the “Walk around the Walls” will only be given by police at the last-minute.
And so, the larger the crowd, the better the chance police will be persuaded not to capitulate to terror, and to allow the traditional walk to get on its way.
It turns out that a police officer has recently recommended to the heads of Women in Green, who’ve been organizing this walk since 1994 to prepare an alternative route for the 2017 march on the night of Tisha B’Av, and make it a route that does not pass through eastern Jerusalem (site of the entirety of Jewish history in the city).
Women in Green leaders Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar responded that “this would take away the entire purpose of the walk which is to surround the walls of Jerusalem as an expression of the longing of the Jewish people for Jerusalem and the Temple Mount on the night of Tisha B’Av.”
In a month that has seen so much Israeli capitulation to the will of volatile Muslim mobs and their inciting leaders, this would be a capitulation of literally historic proportions.
“For 23 years, the walk has been taking place unhindered, despite warnings and fears, and despite years of walking in the month of Ramadan,” Katsover and Matar argue, noting that “the walkers walk without any provocation or friction with the Arab population, and there is no reason to restrict the walk now.”
“If, heaven forbid, the route of the walk is changed, it will be a reward for the rioters and murderers,” the two women state unequivocally. “It is inconceivable that the agitation by rioters and murderers will lead to the punishment of the victims of terrorist attacks and prevent us from practicing a tradition of hundreds of years.”
“It is precisely the time to act as we have done every year and to prove that terrorism will not defeat the eternal nation,” they say.
Incidentally, Attorney Aviad Hacohen—who has been with the Walk around the Walls since its inception 23 years ago, when police asked the court not to approve the route and Hacohen then petitioned the High Court of Justice and won—sent a letter to police district commander, Major General Yoram Halevy, stressing the absurdity of the idea of restricting the traditional walk to appease the mob.
“The police officer did not specify how he knew at this time what the exact degree of the expected ‘tensions’ would be in another two weeks, on the night of the 9th of Av (and tension, as we know, unfortunately, has been characteristic of Jerusalem on many days of the year, for many years),” Hacohen wrote.
“With all due respect, this type of ‘warning’ is out-of-place and contradicts all basic principles of democratic governance and rule of law worthy of its name,” Hacohen stated.
“This announcement is, in a way, asserting not only that there will be disturbances, but also, to some degree, that a prize will be awarded to those who disturb the public order. And instead of enforcing the law on them, the ones who will be punished are those who only request to realize their right to freedom of expression and hold the traditional walk that has existed for many hundreds of years,” he pointed out.
“Needless to say – and as we have noted in our appeal to you in previous years – the route of the walk around the walls of the city and their surroundings is not incidental,” Hacohen explained. “Beyond continuing the tradition of many years, this walk is an expression of the right of the Jewish People in Jerusalem and the sovereignty of the State of Israel over it. This walk is also an expression of Jerusalem being – in each of its sections, east and the west alike – our prime national asset.”
At this point it is worth mentioning that on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem, the planned walk will be dedicated to joint cooperation with Diaspora Jews. Women in Green has called on Jews around the world, offering an opportunity to participate in a live broadcast on the movement’s Facebook page.
With a contribution of at least $100 that will be used to finance the walk, the names of the donors will be held by the participants in the walk, and if they so wish a notice will be read on their behalf during the event.
Your donations will help make this Walk possible – a Walk which entails many expenses, with thousands of people walking proudly in areas in Jerusalem where Jews hardly walk during the year. Also, “the need for your financial support is even greater, now that we have hired a lawyer to do everything possible to keep the walk intact,” say the Women in Green.
Connect to Jerusalem by registering your name and be part of the Walk!