74 Per Cent of Israelis Will Acknowledge Tisha B'Av

Published: July 20th 2010
in News » Israel

Artist's rendition of the destruction of the Temple.

According to a Ynet-Gesher poll conducted by market research company Panels, 74 per cent of the Israeli population will honour the fast of Tisha B’Av, which commenced last night at sunset and lasts until nightfall.


Tisha B’Av marks the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. The poll surveyed 505 respondents, statistically representative of the adult, Hebrew-speaking population in Israel, living in Jewish cities and towns. It revealed that 22 per cent of the population plan to fast, while 52 per cent will avoid venturing out and enjoying the day with friends.


On the other hand, 18 per cent admitted that they would go out on the fast day while 8 per cent refused to even respond to the question.


Regardless of sect, the day of Tisha B’Av usually involves introspection and reflection, especially given the degree to which the Jews are currently dispersed. A vast Diaspora has over time emerged, which is of particular significance today, given the pending conversion bill, which threatens to drive an even deeper wedge between Diaspora Jews and their homeland.


Recently, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has urged his ministers to vote against the proposed conversion bill, citing the “rift” it will create “among the Jewish people.”


This makes sense; Jews have perhaps been isolated from one another for far too long. According to the Talmud, the collapse of both temples was a result of people putting themselves and their ideologies ahead of the needs and feelings of others (this is a very simplified version of the explanation).


Perhaps, then, it is not the walls of a temple that assure an institution’s integrity – perhaps it is instead the actions of those who worship there, and the way in which we engage with those who do not.


As Rabbi Avraham Isaac Kook once said, “The Temple was destroyed because of causeless hatred; it can be rebuilt only by causeless love.”

Related articles: (Tisha B\'Av, Jerusalem, Western Wall, Kotel, Temple, fast)

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