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The Health Ministry reported 2,062 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the highest single day number. There are currently 33,377 active cases, of which 315 are in serious condition and 96 on ventilators. There have been 490 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu presented a plan to battle the virus, which includes giving the IDF responsibility for contact tracing, giving local authorities more power to regulate their areas, and differentiating the severity of regulations by location based on infection rates.
Over 1,000 people protested on Tuesday near the home of Public Security Minister Amir Ohana in Tel Aviv, over what they claim were Ohana’s “attempts to thwart civil protest” after a recording emerged of the minister trying to coerce police to block demonstrations. According to eyewitness accounts, groups of men in black T-shirts, armed with sticks, bottles and pepper spray, attacked protesters. At least 5 protesters were wounded and taken to the hospital. This was the third reported incident of violence by alleged supporters of the Prime Minister against protesters. Defense Minister Gantz demanded that the attackers be arrested. The PM called on police to investigate the attacks, but added that they should also investigate “the incitement of murder” against him and his family.
Tisha B’av will be observed tonight and Thursday. Tisha B’av, the 9th day in the month of Av, commemorates the date that both the first and second Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed, first by the Babylonians in 586 BC and then by the Romans in 70 AD. The day is observed with fasting and reciting lamentations.
The Talmud attributes the reason for the destruction of the Second Temple to baseless hatred. The political and social situation in Israel at the time of the destruction was rife with infighting and strife. Instead of focusing on fighting the Romans, the various Jewish factions fought and killed each other before finally uniting to face the Romans, when it was already much too late. Had the Jews been united, perhaps the destruction, even the war itself, could have been avoided.
The destruction of the Second Temple marked the start of a close to 2,000 year period of statelessness and exile, filled with persecution and massacres, and culminating in the ultimate horror of the Holocaust.
We have returned to our homeland, reestablished our sovereignty over it and made it thrive. Now we have a second chance to correct the mistakes we made the first time around. If we can unite and exist in harmony, we can remain invincible in our land forever. That is the message, and challenge, of Tisha B’av, and why we continue to commemorate the day of our greatest defeat (seriously, what other nation commemorates defeat?).
Will we learn our lesson and correct the mistake of Tisha B’av? That’s a question that only we can answer.
May this be the last Tisha B’av we commemorate, and may we come together as one family, one people, in unity and harmony, to continue to build our homeland and our destiny in peace.
For more information about Tisha B’av click here (Chabad.org).