Immediately upon the close of Shabbat tomorrow night we begin Tisha B’Av (the ninth of the month of Av): a day of Jewish national mourning — the day on which our Temples were destroyed. The day calls for fasting, and the chanting of Eicha, the Book of Lamentations, and additional Kinot (elegies). We are drawn to a painful remembrance of the destruction (Churban) — and our responsibility to this. Coupled with this is an on-going hope for the future as we look to G-d.
The observance of Tisha B’Av is a culmination of a solemn period of three weeks; with the last nine days the most intense — during this time of semi-mourning we don’t eat meat (except for Shabbat) or go swimming or play music.
This year it is all particularly poignant, as we are bidden to be reminded of the value to us of Jerusalem, and to take care that we not lose her again.
And so…just briefly on other subjects here:
Olmert is being questioned again by the Fraud Investigation Unit, on several issues.
An interesting note: I’ve learned that the Hilles clan Fatah members who were rescued by Israel from Gaza were questioned with regard to Shalit. Don’t know if anything was learned, but it makes a great deal of sense.
Regarding Iran: The EU is announcing new economic sanctions. Unfortunately they don’t sound nearly stringent enough to me: EU nations will show restraint (restraint?) in giving public loans that help companies trading with Iran and…will inspect airplanes and ships traveling to and from Iran, notably Iran Air Cargo and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line, to check that they are not carrying contraband.
Meanwhile, Israel is greatly concerned about reports — which remain a bit vague — that Russia has sold to Iran the S-300, a very sophisticated anti-aircraft missile system, which may be delivered to Iran by the end of the year. Israel is threatening Russian that we are in the process of completing development of an electronic system that would neutralize the S-300, and would use it as necessary in Iran, thus exposing Russia as vulnerable.
And President Peres is in China, as guest of the Chinese government, for the Olympics. He has spoken with Chinese president Hu Jintao regarding Chinese assistance in the blocking Iranian nuclear intentions. The response was positive, but I don’t know what, if anything, this means in practical terms. I do know that China is interested in being involved in the Middle East and in many ways positively disposed to Israel.
Pray, one and all, for the safety and the peace of Jerusalem.