- Translation of Hebrew Arutz 7 article by Shimon Cohen
These days, final preparations are being made to continue Women in Green's yearly tradition of walking around the walls of the Old City on the eve of Tisha B'Av.
The walk on the eve of Tisha B'Av will be held this year for the twentieth time, renewing an ancient tradition that Jews kept a thousand years ago. During the time of the British Mandate the tradition was renewed, however it was interrupted until being reinstated by the heads of Women in Green, twenty years ago.
Katsover and Matar say that the original program for this year was to finish the walk on the Temple Mount with a reading of the Scroll of Lamentations.
A few months ago a request to proceed with the plan was presented to the police, but the response from the police was delayed, and was answered only two weeks ago. During Operation Protective Edge a meeting was held with Avi Biton, the police commander of Merhav David and the two women were told that on the eve of Tisha B'Av there are no visits to the Temple Mount, and certainly not via the Lions Gate. "You can come during the hours that the Temple Mount is open"
Avi Biton was asked: "Does this mean that during the day of Tisha B'Av all of the participants of the walk will be able to enter the Temple Mount?"
His answer: "Only during visiting hours, in groups of 25 people, whatever number of people will manage to enter during the allocated time". It was obvious that this would not be sufficient.
Women in Green protested to him about the discrimination, the insult, and the debasement of Jewish citizens. Avi Biton fell back on the usual argument: "We will not break with the status quo".
Following this meeting, there were some misgivings as to whether the entire walk might be cancelled and whether the police would allow the walk to be held because of the current situation of war.
With the aid of legal counsel, the walk was approved for the same route that it has taken for the past nineteen years, even for Sultan Suleiman Street, where massive Jewish presence is so important.
In previous years thousands of people, from throughout the Land have participated and even groups from abroad, as well as rabbis, public figures and members of Knesset. As in every year, the walk will begin with a reading of the Scroll of Lamentations in Independence Park. From there, the walk around the walls will begin, to the final gathering at the Lions' Gate, with security supplied by the Jerusalem Police. At the gathering, several public figures will speak: Mk Orit Struck, head of the Land of Israel lobby in the Knesset; Mr. Gershon Mesika, head of the Samaria Council; Professor Aryeh Eldad, head of Professors for a Strong Israel; and Daniel Luria, from Ateret Kohanim.
After the final gathering the participants will walk to the Dung Gate, next to the Western Wall.
Women in Green promise to continue attempts next year to ascend to the Temp Mount.
Article courtesy of Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar
Women For Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green)
POB 7352, Jerusalem 91072, Israel
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