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10,000 Jews Attend Tisha B’ab Procession Past Wailing Wall Despite Darkness, Restrictions

Ushering in Tisha B’Ab, the Jewish fast commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples by the Roman legions, more than 10,000 Jews reverently filed past the Wailing Wall last night in a most impressive procession. Most of the participants were youths. Maintaining a hushed silence, the marchers walked in single file past the ancient shrine in a procession lasting from sunset until midnight.

Seated on the pavement in front of the Wall was a group of elders chanting the Lamentations of Jermiah in commemoration of the “Glory of Israel that has departed”. Circling the venerable worshippers was a guman chain around the group of chanters. The marchers circled the chain and passed on.

British police, under District Officer Julius Jacobs, patrolled all passages in the vicinity of the Wailing Wall while a number of government and police officers were in the immediate neighborhood. At midnight a large crowd of Orthodox worshippers, accompanied by a group of young students, arrived barefooted as a traditional expression of mourning.

The annual commemoration of the destruction of the Temples is the first occasion the local Jewish population has had of visiting the Wailing Wall since the publication last month of the report of the International Wailing Wall Commission. Because of the restrictions now imposed on Jewish worshippers at the Wall the groups of Orthodox Jews intoning lamentations sat in complete darkness because lights were not permitted.

District Officer Jacobs superintended the procession with a copy of the Wailing Wall Commission’s report in his hand to see that the verdict was carried out.

Youthful members of the Zionist Revisionists distributed pamphlets in which the restrictions imposed by the Wailing Wall Commission were denounced and the Jewish authorities were severely criticized for having accepted the Commission’s verdict. Practically all of the handbills were confiscated by the police and the entire evening passed quietly.

Yesterday’s procession marked the second anniversary of that fateful Tisha B’Ab of 1929 when Arabs attacked Jews at the Wailing Wall and from this clash developed the tragic riots of August and September, 1929.

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