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Israeli Rabbinate Orders Observance of Tisha B’av Despite Return of ‘old City’ to Jews

Tisha B’Av. which commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples, will be observed on Tuesday as a traditional day of mourning and fasting despite the fact that the Old City has been returned to Jewish control, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate ruled today. The Old City is the site of the two Temples where the Western Wall remains as a remnant of the Second Temple.

The Rabbinate said that while the Temple grounds were back in Jewish hands, the Temple still has not been rebuilt and millions of Jews throughout the world live under conditions of oppression. The observance of the Ninth of Av was in earlier periods a day of pilgrimage to the Western Wall where Jews recited from the Book of Lamentations. This year, hundreds of thousands of Jews are expected to make the pilgrimage to Old Jerusalem.