Jews Prepare to Observe Tisha B'Av


JERUSALEM, Israel -- With tensions running especially high during this year's observance of Tisha B'Av, Israel Police will be out in force to protect participants in the traditional march around Jerusalem's Old City walls, which begins at 10:00 p.m.

At sundown Monday, Israelis begin a 25-hour fast in observance of Tisha B'Av, literally the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av, a day of mourning on the Jewish calendar.

On Tisha B'Av, Jews read the Book of Lamentations and mourn the destruction of the first and second Jewish Temples, the first by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. and the second by the Romans in 70 A.D. Other tragedies befell the Jewish people on this day, in ancient and modern times, such as the Spanish Inquisition in 1492.

Today, many recall the government's 2005 pullout from 21 Jewish communities in the Gush Katif Settlement Bloc in the Gaza Strip and four in northern Samaria, which began right after Tisha B'Av under then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Meanwhile on Sunday and Monday, Arab rioters tried to block entrance to the Temple Mount by non-Muslims, pelting police officers near the Mugrabi Gate -- the sole entrance used by non-Muslim visitors to the Temple Mount -- with rocks. Police dispersed the rioters, restored order and detained several of the rioters for questioning. Five officers were injured during the riots.

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