Ahead of Tisha B’Av, Israeli President Issues Call for Jewish Unity

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Rivlin’s wife, Nechama Rivlin. Photo: Mark Neiman / GPO.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin issued a call for Jewish unity on Monday at a pre-Tisha B’Av Torah study session he hosted at his residence in Jerusalem.

“Destruction and exile has left us as the few,” Rivlin said. “Yes, we are the few that are left of the Jewish people. We do not have the privilege to give up on any Jew or Jewess. We do not have the privilege to be divided or to crumble.”

“Especially against a background of the violence surrounding the Temple Mount, and the continued attempts to deny Jewish history and the connection of the Jewish people to the Temple Mount, we must not turn the Kotel — the only surviving symbol we have of the Temple that was ploughed over — into a place of internal quarrels,” the president declared, in a reference to the recent controversy over the freezing of an Israeli government plan to build an egalitarian prayer area at the Western Wall.

At the same event on Monday, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky — a former Prisoner of Zion — said, “When we were in the Soviet Union, we called the Western Wall the ‘Wailing Wall,’ as is common in various languages. Only once I undertook to help find a compromise at the wall many years later did I come to understand how accurate that description was. The Western Wall is both a religious site and a national symbol, and we were bequeathed it as an eternal inheritance. Whether it is a wall of tears or a wall of joy depends only on us.”

by Barney Breen-Portnoy/ Algemeiner