Since the 9th day of Av fell yesterday, on Shabbat when we do not mourn, the fast itself was deferred to today, beginning last night at sundown and finishing at sundown tonight. Tisha Be’Av, the 9th day of the month of Av, is the saddest day in the Jewish calendar. As I wrote in a previous Tisha Be’Av post:
The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem as well as a whole slew of tragic events that befell the Jewish people on that day:
These include the capture of Bethar, which marked the final defeat of Bar Kokhba‘s rebellion against the Romans, and the razing of Jerusalem by the Romans. The edict of King Edward I compelling the Jews of England to leave the country was signed on the ninth of Av in 1290, the Jews were expelled from Spain on that day in 1492, and World War I broke out in 1914. The sadness and mourning that Jews feel on this day are reflected in the various practices of Tisha B’Av, including abstaining from joyous activities like study of Torah, from eating and drinking, from sexual activity, and from wearing leather.
Here is a chronology of the major events leading up to the Churban (the destruction of the Temples and Jerusalem).
We might think that with the establishment of the State of Israel in modern times, and seeing the country thrive and overcome such adversity, there would be no need for Tisha B’Av any more. However as we can see from some recent headlines, although the Jews have technically regained their sovereignty in the Land of Israel, that sovereignty is persistently challenged by both our traditional enemies (the Arabs) and by new-old enemies – some European countries, countless NGOs and the hard left in general.
Here are some recent headlines which illustrate how the world is determined to undermine Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel – and these examples are only a drop in the ocean.
After EU labelling of settlement products a paper proposes banking steps.
The European Union agreed this week to push ahead with labeling Israeli goods made in settlements in the West Bank, a move that has alarmed the Israeli government; but now there are proposals to go much further, including targeting Israeli banks.
In a paper to be published on Wednesday, the European Council on Foreign Relations, whose proposals frequently inform EU policy-making, argues that the EU is in breach of its own laws and must move much more firmly to distinguish its dealings with Israel from Israel’s activities in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
European diplomats have long said that labeling is only the first in a series of steps the EU could take against Israel over its settlements policy, one that in financial terms is expected to have a relatively minor impact on the Israeli economy.
But the new proposals would go much deeper and further, reaching into banking, loans and mortgages, qualifications earned in settlement institutions and the tax-exempt status of European charities that deal with Israeli settlements.
“Under its own regulations and principles, Europe cannot legally escape from its duty to differentiate between Israel and its activities in the… Palestinian territories,” says the report, titled ‘EU Differentiation and Israeli Settlements’.
The authors argue that by pushing much further to separate the EU’s dealings with Israel from the settlements, it will force Israel to decide what sort of relationship it wants with Europe and in turn encourage it to return to talks with the Palestinians on a two-state solution to the conflict.
What a chutzpah! Who do the Europeans think they are, deciding what are our borders, when we ourselves and even the Palestinians haven’t come to any agreement about them.
BUT – all might not be lost. Via Israel Matzav, we learn that the EU does not necessarily take on board all the suggestions from this think tank:
Let’s see how this one plays out. I don’t trust the Europeans as far as I can throw them.
In parallel with the Europeans there is the NGO campaign to destroy Israel as reported by Denis McEoin in the Gatestone Institute:
- When an NGO receives a sizeable portion of its budget from governments, it is no longer a non-governmental organization. And when such funding to NGOs is provided by allied states such as the U.S. or the UK, or international unions such as the EU, it constitutes disproportionate interference by external governments in the internal affairs of another democratic state.
- NGO Monitor research reveals that a number of funders made their grants conditional on the NGO obtaining a minimum number of negative “testimonies.” It should be clear that a wide range of church organizations, human rights NGOs, and a number of European governments are engaged in an extremely one-sided enterprise to bring about the defamation and destruction of the Jewish state. All of these NGOs have much the same political agenda of defaming, pressuring and undermining Israel; and using human rights issues to promote a steadily negative view of the country, its government, its laws, and its defence forces.
- Many never criticize the Palestinian Authority or Hamas, nor do they turn their attentions to the desperate state of human rights in states such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, China, Russia and Lebanon, among others. NGOs are being well paid to urge total changes in the constitutions of other nations, and in the total abolition of another nation’s right to exist at all. No other country in the world would stand for it; why should Israel?
It is a long, well-researched and thoroughly depressing article, well-suited to the sombreness of the day, if you have the stomach for it.
Not only NGOs, but foreign governments too, see fit to interfere in Israel’s domestic affairs and undermine its sovereignty as if Israel were simply a vassal state of theirs. We have an utterly egregious example of such imperialism in the Susiya case: the invention of an ancient Palestinian town that never was (via Elder of Ziyon):
The Palestinian Authority, with direct financing of the European Union and blind acceptance of lies as facts by media, is swallowing up the southern Hevron Hills, a huge area between Kiryat Arba-Hevron and Arad-Be’er Sheva.
The latest chapter in the Palestinian Authority’s re-invention of history is taking place in Susiya, pronounced “Soos-eeya,” located two miles from the old borders of Israel, on the western edge of the Judean Desert that leads to the Dead Sea, and less than half an hour from Be’er Sheva, the capital of the Negev.
The Arab strategy: An Arab family erects a tent, illegally, near the archaeological site of the ancient town of Susiya. As time passes, the tent becomes a makeshift structure, which expands into several structures. With the support of extreme left-wing activists, the ‘ancient’ town of ‘Palestinian Susiya’ is invented, reported the Tazpit News Agency.
“This makes for a great human interest story, but for one setback – the ‘ancient Palestinian Susiya’ never existed. It shows up on no records,” Tazpit wrote.
Yigal Dilmoni, deputy director-general of the Yesha Council, told Tazpit, “Fifteen-year-old aerial photos clearly show that there was no Arab village at this site… The Arabs have come for the village of Yatta, and… repeatedly disseminate lies. ”
Last week, the Civil Lands Authority issued approximately 40 stop-work orders against projects funded by the European Union and intended to firm up Palestinian Authority claims to land where they never lived until Jews came to the area in 1983.
In that year, for the first time in 1,500 years, Jews began living in the southern Hevron Hills, setting up a community in nearby Beit Yatir, two miles to the south, and in Susiya, where the old Jewish town existed until approximately the 6th century.
But when the Civil Lands Authority last week issued the stop-work orders, the first step towards demolition orders, the left-wing movements and the Palestinian Authority reinvented history.
“The Palestinian village of Khirbet [ruins of] Susiya has existed in the South Hebron Hills at least since the 1830.”
The International Solidarity Movement wrote last week, “The residents of Susiya include more than 30 families, who were all evacuated from their homes in the old Susiya village and forced to relocate 200 meters to the southeast, in 1986,”
It is a lie. They never lived there, not in 1830 and not in 1986 and not in 1996. A handful of Arabs sowed the land in the spring, harvest the crop in the late summer and went back to Yatta. Period.
Ari Briggs, a director of the Regavim organization,for the advocacy of Israel’s national rights to the land, shows how the Americans have now seen fit to undermine our sovereignty on this issue, in his article “Facts ignored, the invention of the village of Susiya“:
In response to the second question, preceded only by an inquiry on the Iran agreement from which Israel is still reeling, State Department spokesperson John Kirby with a prepared statement pressured Israel not to enforce demolition orders against an illegal Arab encampment adjacent to the Jewish community of Susiya. The State Department took this stand despite the fact that these demolition orders had been confirmed by Israel’s High Court in May 2015 after decades of appeals.
The Israelis were astonished for two reasons. One, the State Department was apparently misinformed about basic facts of the case. Two, the statement appears to be an arrogant attempt to undermine the Israeli legal system, including its universally respected High Court.
Regavim has documented at least 20 illegal structures in the encampment, funded directly by the EU and proudly bearing the EU flag. The encampment is strategically placed between the Jewish community of Susiya and the Susiya archaeological site. Their agenda is clearly intended to obliterate the fact that an ancient Jewish community, including a magnificent ancient synagogue, thrived in this area before Islam even existed.
Again, read the whole thing to be thoroughly depressed and outraged. Please spread this story and share it widely in order to protect Israel’s rights and to prevent more usurpation of Israel’s sovereignty in its own land. Note the final words of Briggs’ article:
It is crucial that the facts be told and the law upheld despite the extreme pressure being applied by the EU and US State Department.The Israeli government dare not cede the rule of law in this blatant and misguided attempt to usurp the authority and power of our courts and legal system. If the government appears powerless in the face of pressure from such outside forces and continues to sacrifice the country’s interests, Israel will, indeed, invite additional pressure, while weakening its own resolve to pursue justice.
Our legal system is internationally recognized as robust, strong and just. Ignoring the history and facts of this particular case would be particularly egregious, as it would blatantly violate a basic legal principle: Ex injuria jus non oritur, legal rights cannot derive from an illegal act, or in this case, decades of demonstrably illegal acts. Regavim is proud to be considered the counter pressure pushing the government to uphold the rule of law and the equal application of that law.
Elder of Ziyon has also done some comprehensive research of his own in The Myth of Susiya. I recommend you read it all. He also brings us Knesset Deputy Speaker Bezalel Smotrich’s letter of protest to the US Ambassador over America’s false statements about Susiya.
EoZ brings us Regavim’s video about this outrage which demonstrates how the Palestinians, assisted by NGOs and foreign governments, have invented their history and are trying to dupe world sympathy:
And for a grand finale, how could we have a Tisha B’Av post without some more abuse of Israel at the hands of our old friends, the United Nations, ably assisted by our “friends”, the Western World. Just as a reminder, few weeks ago Israel was condemned as the world’s worst violator of health rights, and then had the “privilege” of being condemned for not preserving the Old City of Jerusalem. This is over and above the UN’s string of condemnations of Israel alone over last year’s Gaza War.
This week UN Watch reports that Israel was roundly condemned as the world’s worst violator of economic and social rights, and look who joined in with the world’s worst tyrannies to condemn Israel – yes, that’s right, all our Western friends besides Australia and the US. Shame on you Britain, France and Germany!
Israel was the only country in the world to be condemned at the ECOSOC annual session when a resolution adopted on Monday by 42 of 54 member states, including all EU members — with only Australia and the U.S. opposed — excoriated the Jewish state for a litany of crimes including “the dumping of all kinds of waste materials in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.”
• The EU-backed resolution mentions Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the PLO for a total of 0 times.
• The words “Syria” or “Syrian” were mentioned 13 times — but only to condemn Israel for alleged violations against “the Syrian citizens of the occupied Syrian Golan. Bashar al-Assad’s mass murder of hundreds of thousands of his own Syrian people was not condemned or even mentioned once.
• The language of the UN text refers to the “mother homeland, the Syrian Arab Republic.”
The mockery reached its pinnacle when Syrian ambassador Bashar Jaafari took the floor to accuse Israel of facilitating “terrorist attacks” against Syrian cities and civilians, and to condemn the Jewish state for “destroying the soil of the Golan, exploiting its resources, burning its products and other racist policies.”
UN Watch reminds members of the European Union, many of whose diplomats subscribe to this newsletter, that ongoing complicity with lopsided, inflammatory and polarizing resolutions only serves to undermine the cause of peace, as well as to erode the credibility of the United Nations.
Last year’s Tisha B’Av post ended with the hope that the truce being negotiated between Israel and Hamas would hold. That prayer has not been fully answered although a shaky quiet interspersed with rocket fire has reigned since then.
This year we have a much more serious problem on our hands with the Iran deal more or less signed and sealed. Even if Congress rejects it, Barack Obama bypassed his own legislature and made sure to get the UN’s seal of approval in advance, while the Europeans are already off and running to Tehran with their cheque-books open and bank balances at the ready. World peace, or at least regional peace in the Middle East, has never looked further away.
Yet we still pray that this Tisha Be’Av be the last one that we ever need to fast. May the next 9th of Av be a day of rejoicing and celebration with the coming of the Mashiach and rebuilding of the Temple. Amen.
כל המתאבל על ירושלים זוכה ורואה בשמחתה
Those who mourn Jerusalem will merit to see her in her joy