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On the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av, which usually falls on July or August, Jews around the world commemorate the destruction of the Jewish temple which took place on two occasions in Jerusalem. On this day many Jews and Israelis come out here to the old Jewish quarter in Jerusalem, and to the Wailing Wall, behind me, to pray and grieve this loss to the Jewish people.
On the 10 days prior to Tisha B'Av, many Jews avoid celebrating happy events, listening to music, eating meat. And on Tisha B'Av itself, those who observe, fast for 25 hours. Due to the fact that it is an annual and lengthy fast day, many people equate it to the Yom Kippur holiday, the Jewish day of repentance coming up this October. Right behind me are police officers and security vehicles that brought over U.S. republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to the western wall region, as part of his visit to Israel.
Romney, who met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu early on Sunday, arrived to the Wailing Wall to pay tribute to this tremendously holy site to the Jewish people, and it just so happens that his visit to the wall took place on one of the most significant dates in Jewish history. And so, due to the sensitivity of the location and the events held in this area this week, Jerusalem Police closed the Temple Mount compound on Sunday following fears of riots on this Jewish day of mourning for Tisha B'Av.
Sivan Raviv, JN1, Jerusalem.