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| Live Broadcast of The 26th Tisha bAv Walk Around the Walls

Yosele Y     Independence Park, Agron Street, Jerusalem
Thursday, 30 July 1:08 AM

Yearly Tisha b’Av event to be held - with coronavirus restrictions

The yearly Tisha B’Av Walk will be with only 50 participants. There will be a live broadcast on Arutz Sheva for everyone who cannot attend.

 Tags: Tisha B'Av Spotlight
Arutz Sheva Staff , 

Last year Tisha b’Av Walk
Last year Tisha b’Av Walk
Gershon Elinson

The yearly Tisha b’Av walk around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, organized by the Women in Green, will be held this year, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

However, this year, because of government restrictions, only fifty people will be able to participate instead of the many thousands who have gathered on this special night for the past 26 years.

In order to share the event with the many who would have liked to participate, the walk will be broadcast live on Arutz Sheva, including, as it does every year, historical commentary on various points of interest throughout the route as well as an assembly at the conclusion, albeit, limited in scope.

The person who has offered legal support from the start and was actually responsible for obtaining permission for the walk 26 years ago, was Atty. Prof. Aviad HaCohen, who, in conversation, brought us back to the legal battle that ultimately led to the renewal of the traditional walk.

“It is quite an ancient tradition. There is testimony of the centuries-old tradition of encircling the walls of the Old City on the eve of Tisha b’Av and mourning the destruction of the Temple and the city. When the population in the Land dwindled, there was a hiatus in the tradition. The person who renewed the tradition was Prof. Ze’ev Vilnai. Many hundreds of people participated in the walk. This walk united all of the sectors of society. This continued for many, many years. In 1948, when the Old City fell the tradition ceased”, Prof. HaCohen summarized the history of the walk in previous eras.

And from there to our days: “In the beginning of the nineties, Women in Green, led by Nadia Matar and her in-laws, Ruth and Michael Matar, and afterward Yehudit Katsover, decided to renew this tradition. In 1994, they contacted the police to receive permission because it is a procession of hundreds of people in a sensitive area. Surprisingly, the police claimed that the walk could not be held because it would be a danger to the public safety and there was concern over riots. I appealed on behalf of Women in Green and explained that it is a basic right and part of freedom of expression and perhaps also freedom of religion, since the walk was a renewal of a tradition. The police were not convinced and refused to allow it”.

“There was no choice but to appeal to the High Court. In the appeal, we included a survey of the history of this tradition, that it was not something new and if there was any concern about rioting by some of the residents, what the police had to do was not to forbid the walk, but rather to punish anyone who thinks that by using violence, he can prevent people from walking in the streets of Jerusalem”.

Prof. HaCohen continues, stating: “Fortunately, the panel of judges, President Shlomo Levin, Judge Eliezer Goldberg and Judge Eliahu Mata, issued an absolute order, which is quite rare in the High Court, since usually, out of the thousands of appeals to the High Court, 95 percent are rejected. In this case, the court changed the decision into an absolute order, stating that freedom of expression outweighs the concern over disturbances of order, but required a few conditions. One of the nice conditions was that since it was Women in Green and they wanted to be able to identify the participants of the walk, everyone who belonged to the walk was to wear a green hat as an identifying sign.

HaCohen emphasizes it was indeed rare for the court to make such a requirement, but it was done to prevent anyone from sabotaging the walk and creating a provocation by infiltrating it, as has happened on other occasions.

Prof. HaCohen continues, noting that throughout the years he has recommended to the movement’s leaders, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, to contact the police beforehand to prevent a last-minute prohibition. He adds that “In some years, the police tried to make arbitrary decisions, for example when the walk fell in the month of Ramadan. The police claimed that there was increased danger but even then, we insisted and succeeded to convince the police, which “gave in” and allowed the walk to proceed”.

Eighteen years later, the movement again had to appeal to the High Court. It was after the police had sought to prevent the walk from following its usual route and demanded that the participants of the walk proceed only in the western part of the city, which would have negated the purpose of the walk, in Cohen’s words. “There was no choice but to appeal again to the High Court and this time the police acceded without a battle as soon as the appeal was served. In this case, we did not waive the court costs, not only because it was an expensive process, but also on the level of principle, since the police should behave the same way toward all demonstrations. The court, in a relatively rare step, issued a ruling on court costs in favor of the movement”.

In light of these things, Prof. HaCohen was asked whether the requirement that there would be no more than fifty participants in the walk is not a case of the Walk around the Walls being treated differently from other demonstrations, such as those in Balfour Street, where hundreds, and even more than that, crowd together and the police do not lift a finger.

“I agree in principle. Fifty people is really a risible number. Even when demonstrations are limited, the numbers are different. But the organizers of the walk did well in not wanting to take risks. No one would want people to be endangered by corona in order to have the walk. They acted responsibly and this will be seen favorably. Going to the High Court would perhaps have resulted in a higher number but the goal is to express our attitude toward the destruction of Jerusalem and is not only a matter of numbers”.

Women in Green says that the permission to hold the walk was given only because it is a tradition of many years.

The public is invited to join online. The evening will start at 8:30 pm Israel time with the reading of the Lamentations in Independence Park followed by the Walk. Throughout the route of the walk, there will be explanations and stories about various historical points from various eras in the history of the People of Israel. The walk will conclude with an assembly attended by public figures and the screening of a video with greetings and encouragement sent by public figures who were not able to attend because of the restrictions of the Ministry of Health. “Although the walk and the assembly will be held in a limited format, the message of the People of Israel’s sovereignty over all parts of Jerusalem will be conveyed in the field as well as to the many who will watch the live broadcast on Arutz Sheva and on our Sovereignty FB page”, says the movement.


26th Annual Tisha BeAv Walk around the Old City Walls- for the sake of Israel’s Sovereignty!

Dear Friends,

We call upon you to assist us in conducting our 26th annual Tisha Be’Av eve Walk around the Walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

This year, due to the Corona restrictions, the participation of only fifty people has been authorized for the walk. This fact does not minimize the scope of the expenditures involved in the production of the walk (police barricades, ambulance, loudspeaker system, accompanying van, ushers, publicity, live broadcast, and more). Therefore, we are turning to you, lovers and devotees of the Land of Israel and Jerusalem, with a request to participate with us in this important initiative.

As anyone who has participated in previous walks knows, the walk constitutes a significant expression of sovereignty in Jerusalem. The walk in this area, where unfortunately Jews are not found on a daily basis, with us proudly brandishing Israeli flags, is an expression of Israeli sovereignty in all parts of Jerusalem, and is especially significant on this night commemorating the destruction. The Jewish people has returned to its eternal capital!  We must not allow a situation, where, due to budgetary difficulties, this sovereignty tradition will be discontinued.

There are three options through which you can be privileged to participate with us in the walk:

1.     A contribution of 1000 NIS ($300) to sponsor of one of the Walk participants who will walk in your name.

2.     A contribution of 1000 NIS ($300) to register yourself for the Walk

3.     A contribution of any other sum will be very helpful in consolidating the budget necessary for the walk.

We thank those who already contributed but need more people in order to reach the sum that will cover the expenses.

Please Click on the link and join: We must not discontinue the tradition! For the sake of Israeli sovereignty! 

Contributions are tax deductible in Israel and in the US

The event will take place Wednesday leil Tisha beav July 29th. Maariv and Eicha reading at 8:15pm Independence Park Agron street. The Walk will start immediately after the Eicha reading.

Details in attached flyer

Wishing you a good week,

Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar

Sovereignty Movement


From Last Years March:

An uplifting must- see movie. We are happy to present it to you now with English subtitles

The event concluded with a screening of a movie that was prepared especially for the event, entitled ‘From Ashes to Glory’, which skipped quickly from the events of the destruction and the exile to the building and revival of these days. The English version of the movie will be posted soon on the Women in Green and Sovereignty website,  meanwhile here is the Hebrew version:

The Tisha b’Av Walk in the Spirit of Unity, Building and Sovereignty

Thousands took part in the Tisha b’Av Eve March led by the Sovereignty Movement founded by Women in Green and its co-chairwomen, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar. This year marks the half-Jubilee of the renewal of the traditional walk. Among the many participants, the Sovereignty Youth had a significant presence, arriving from all parts of the Land.

The walk began, as it does every year, with the reading of the Scroll of Lamentations (Eicha) at Independence Park in the heart of the capital, and from there it continued to circle the Wall. The walk around the Wall was accompanied by words of explanation and information by historian Arieh Klein on the city’s past, both distant and recent, while passing by notable points on the route around the city’s walls.

Before the walk started, a video was screened with a short speech by Tila Falic Levi, Land of Israel actvist , representing the Falic family who sponsored the Walk. Tila reminded all that  the “Tisha beAv fast reminds us of where we come from and what happened to us as a people. Now Am Yisrael is back home in Eretz Yisrael. We learn from many Jewish leaders, from Avraham all the way to Yoni Netanyahu- to be Jews of action. We thank Hashem for the miracle of the Land of Israel and pray for a continued development of Eretz Yisrael, as a unified nation. Am Yisrael Chai”.

Near the Damascus Gate some Arab youths tried to disrupt the walk by shouting epithets, cries of “Allahu Akbar” and clapping of hands, which Nadia Matar “interpreted” in a different way, using the loudspeaker to say “Thanks to all who are applauding on the sidelines because they know that Israeli sovereignty is good for them. Being under Israeli sovereignty is the best thing for them, and if they don’t like it, they are invited to move to Syria…”

The security forces accompanying the walk distanced the Muslim youths , and the walk continued without any other mishaps or friction.

The concluding assembly was held near the Lions’ Gate. Yehudit Katsover began the assembly with words of “special thanks to the security forces and the regional commander, who did not hesitate to approve the walk despite it occurring on the eve of the Muslim Festival of the Sacrifice”.

“It is difficult to imagine how the divided Jerusalem of 52 years ago has become to what we know today, how, from a city, squeezed into a narrow corridor, bounded on all sides, it has become the large and vibrant city of today. Many opponents have arisen and are still arising against the unification of the city in the ideological sense and many more are against the actual unification of the city”, she said, noting how despite everything, different sectors of the population live there together, “Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, new immigrants and seasoned citizens. Jerusalem is gradually taking a central place in the world, in the life of the nation and in the life of the individual”.

On marking the half-Jubilee year of the renewal of the tradition of the walk, Katsover said: “This year we are commemorating the half-Jubilee year of the Walk around the Walls of Jerusalem. A tradition that was renewed 25 years ago by Ruth and Michael Matar, the founders of Women in Green. Twenty-five years in the eternal city are barely a speck of dust in the long and troubled history of Jerusalem. This walk has strengthened and fortified the spirit of the participants and strengthened to status of the city as a sovereignty city”.

The first of the speakers was former minister for Jerusalem Affairs, Ze’ev Elkin, who related: “I have come to this walk as I do every year and this year I have come from a reading of the Scroll of Lamentations in the City of David. There is no place more symbolic than this place to understand the meaning of this year, when on one side there is the Mount of Olives, the most ancient cemetery, where the Shekhina never left Jerusalem after the destruction, and nearby is the mass grave where they buried the victims of the battle in the Jewish Quarter in the War of Independence, when it seemed that the Temple Mount and the Old City had been lost, and on the other side of the same cemetery is the Lions’ Gate, which symbolizes our return in the Six Day War to the same place that was lost in the War of Independence, the way to the Old City, to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount”.

Minister Elkin continued, emphasizing that despite the dramatic change that has occurred over the last decades, “we see that there is still a long way to go. We have sovereignty in Jerusalem and even the nations of the world recognize it when they understand that we are resolute, but there is still some distance to sovereignty in Judea and Samaria as well as full and true sovereignty in Jerusalem, so that this walk will not be only around the Old City, but will be able to continue to the Temple Mount. We have a long way to go in order to assure that those difficult passages in the Scroll of Lamentations will not return”.

As he spoke, Elkin mentioned the murder of Dvir Sorek, Hy”d, who lived north of Jerusalem and studied south of Jerusalem, “our People has lost another wonderful son, a young sweet boy, Dvir Sorek, who gave his life so that someday there will be sovereignty and the Temple will be built and the fast day will become a day of joy”.

Rav Uri Sherki, head of Brit Olam, spoke about the religions “competing” with the Torah of Israel, Christianity and Islam, which claim that they are the true Judaism, a statement that can only be heard when the People of Israel is not in its place. In the spirit of Rav Kook, Rav Sharki said that “When we are in our full power and we have kingship, prophecy and the Temple, others will not be able to claim that they are Israel”.

“Our grief over the destruction is a small echo of the grief from the ideology that seeks to appear again in reality”, said Rav Sherki, adding that it could be that the day is near when joy and gladness will fill the day of Tisha b’Av to the point when we will no longer remember what we grieved over, “it depends on us and our government, our initiatives”, he stated.

Former mayor of Jerusalem, MK Nir Barkat, drew a connection between the unity that accompanied the fighters’ battle for the liberation of Jerusalem and the unity that he wishes for Jerusalem in the political sphere.

“I remember the city before the war and I saw how it developed. I had the great privilege to lead Jerusalem as mayor and contribute my part to the building and shaping of Jerusalem. Over the years we are busy in the mayor’s office networking the city with trains, commercial development, building and housing, increasing tourism, high-tech and other things, but we do not forget our history for a moment. We do not forget what an amazing city it was 3000 years ago when everyone came on pilgrimage and this connected all of the People of Israel; anyone who enters the city feels its holiness and its uniqueness in the world, it is a city that belongs to all of the tribes”.

Barkat noted the importance that he saw, as mayor, to allow every Jew to live anywhere he wanted in Jerusalem, “And fought fiercely for the right to live anywhere, also in Jude and Samaria”, he said, adding that “the challenge is the de facto realization of sovereignty in the field”.

As noted, Barkat made a connection between Jerusalem, unity of the People and the political issue: “As mayor, I made a great effort to establish a broad coalition and we found a very broad common denominator in Jerusalem belonging to everyone. We must seek the broadest common denominator in Israel. After the elections we will have to see how we can integrate as many groups of the public as possible in the coalition and increase ahavat chinam- ‘causeless love’”.

Later during the assembly, Minister of Transportation Bezalel Smotrich spoke, describing his route to the assembly from his house in Kedumim and his sense, as one who travels in a government vehicle on crowded roads with communities on the sides of the roads and he enters a city crowded by traffic and many people – no longer desolate, however, he also is reminded by the presence of the police jeep escorting the government vehicle and the reason for it that there is still need for such security escort.

“We are an independent and sovereign state, but we are still threatened, we fight and we struggle, but mainly, we haven’t the heart, we lack the essential root and the connection of who we are and what we are doing here in the Land of Israel. We don’t have the Temple and this is not just a technical matter, we lack the stature and wholeness of the process that we are now in the midst of. The Almighty is returning the Temple in a lengthy process, but it is not yet here. We must mourn over the fact that we don’t even know how to feel the lack and the significance of the nearness of G-d and the presence of the Shekhina, what this would mean for all the reality of our life, if we could feel the tangible presence of the Almighty, what that would do to us, to our enemies, to our leaders. What faith, ability and resolve to do things so much better if we understood what we are doing here and the meaning of a ‘kingdom of priests’ and a holy nation”.

Smotrich called for such strong and palpable consolation that it would have the power to console even those who were there then, 1950 years ago, and saw the events of the Scroll of Lamentations happening before their eyes. “This is how we must act in our generations along with the Almighty to bring full consolation, ‘And you will build in with fire in the future’”.

Another speaker at the assembly was former member of Knesset Orit Struk, who mentioned that the mourning of Tisha b’Av began considerably before the destruction of the Temple. The mourning began with the sin of the spies, when it was determined that because the children of Israel cried, they will cry for generations.

“This walk is the rectification for the sin of the spies”, Struk declared, noting the completion of 25 years since the renewal of the traditional walk. “Twenty-five years ago, the sin of the spies in our generation occurred, the terrible Oslo Accords which showed an aversion to the pleasant Land and the sense that we cannot hold onto the Land because the people here are stronger than we are. This is the Oslo Accords, which began all of the withdrawals, the last of which was that of Tisha b’Av 14 years ago, the expulsion from Gush Katif”.

Turning to Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, Struk said: “You began with another banner but today’s banner is clearer more prominent – the banner of sovereignty, which is the rectification for the sin of the spies. A banner that says that the Land is very, very good and we love the Land and even if it is difficult, we can overcome these difficulties because the Land is very, very good”.

Aryeh King, a member of the Jerusalem Council and one of the city’s builders, also spoke, beginning with a grim testimony of the present reality. He turned the attention of the massive audience to a stone in the wall near the road, with Arabic inscription. This is a street sign, he said, that the government of Turkey set up on the day after the Marmara incident. “The government of Israel knew about it and knows today as well. This is not sovereignty!”

“We speak of unity but unity must be behind the holy and not compromise the holiness of Jerusalem”, said King, returning to the sad description of the situation today: “These days, there are areas where, if you are a Jew, you are not permitted to enter”, he said, mentioning the neighborhoods where only Arabs are allowed to build, such as Giv’at Hamatos and the neighborhood of Shimon Hatzadik.

King mentioned the days of his childhood in Kibbutz Alumim where it was possible to hitchhike from Gaza and from Masajiyya without any problem at all, when the beach in Gaza was a recreation place for the Jewish children of the area, but within just 11 years the situation has changed, at first the IDF was removed from the centers of the cities, later checkpoints were set up and even later came the expulsion of the Jews.

King praised the efforts of the former minister of Jerusalem Affairs, Ze’ev Elkin, to strengthen the City of David, the Mount of Olives, the presence in Tzidkiyahu’s cave and other things, but to this he added: “I find it unfortunate that we do not relate to all of Jerusalem as an integral part of the heart of the Jewish People”.

The final speaker was Atty. Nili Naouri, director of Israel Forever, who expressed the hope that in the coming year it will no longer be necessary for the walkers to have a security escort.

“It has already been 52 years and we still need a security escort. This is because there are those to whom it is still not clear that we are the sole, legitimate owners of this Land and when we do not behave like the owners, the Arab invader behaves like the owner”.

“When the Romans destroyed the Temple, they changed the name of the Land of Israel to Palestina and the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina to nullify the connection of the People of Israel to its Land”, Nahuri declared, adding: “Today they speak of ‘territories’ and the ‘west bank’ but this is Judea and Samaria, an area that is exclusively Jewish, the cradle of the People of Israel. For two thousand years of exile we have become accustomed to depending on the good will of the non-Jews and have repeated the sentence ‘Next year in rebuilt Jerusalem’. We have to take the exile out of the Jews, to become accustomed to behaving once again as the sovereign. Enough of the status quo. The time has come for sovereignty”, she declared.

Before the conclusion of the event, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar mentioned Jonathan and Esther Pollard, praying for a speedy refua shlema (recovery) for Esther and praying to see Esther and Jonathan finally coming on aliya to Israel.

The event concluded with a screening of a movie that was prepared especially for the event, entitled ‘From Dust to Glory’, which skipped quickly from the events of the destruction and the exile to the building and revival of these days. The English version of the movie will be posted soon on the Women in Green and Sovereignty website, meanwhile here is the Hebrew version:


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