Tomorrow night, as we mark Tisha B’Av, the day we mourn the destruction of ancient Israel and the exile of our people in both 586BCE and 70CE, we chant from Megillat Eicha (The Book of Lamentations):
Israel’s roads are in mourning…
She is utterly disconsolate!
Fast forward thousands of years to today – the day after the Netanyahu’s coalition passed legislation that will severely limit the rights of the nation’s Supreme Court, give more authority to the Parliament, and undermine the democratic process (to learn more, see my interview on Local10), we read in the Israeli press:
Chaos erupts as protesters block roads…
Defying water cannons and mounted cops for hours…
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid..said…
“This is not a victory for the coalition.
This is the destruction of Israeli democracy.”
(Source: Times of Israel)
We are taught that the ancient destruction of Israel was the result of internal divisions within the Jewish people. These divisions broke down society and made it easy for the enemies to sweep in and decimate ancient Israel.
This morning, Avi Mayer, the Editor-in-Chief of The Jerusalem Post, wrote:
a government that callously ignores the pain of half its citizens, dismisses the warnings of its most dedicated soldiers, and disregards the counsel of those entrusted with the country’s economic well-being is one that exhibits a breathtaking failure of leadership.
This failure in leadership, this ignoring half of the Israeli people, this disregarding the wisdom of those who have dedicated their live to protecting the Jewish State, this arrogance is what destroyed ancient Israeli society centuries ago. And it is rearing its ugly head once again, threatening our beloved Israel.
As we gather tomorrow at 7:00pm at RSBI for Tisha B’Av, in addition to mourning the ancient destruction of Israel, we will also express our despair over the dangerous actions of Israel’s current leaders. Keep in mind, we do not simply gather on Tisha B’Av to mourn the loss of ancient Israel. We gather to remember this loss and what caused it in an effort to ensure that it never happens again. By incorporating our despair over current Israeli events into tomorrow night’s gathering, we will stand in solidarity with our Israeli brothers and sisters who are taking to the Israeli streets to fight for the democracy that lies at the foundation of the Jewish State. We will empower ourselves to play a role in preserving Israeli democracy.
Please, take the time tomorrow evening not just to remember our past, but to step forward and remind ourselves, Israeli leaders, and the world that the power of Judaism lies in the cohesion of the Jewish people.
See you at 7:00pm tomorrow at RSBI.