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Tisha B’av Marred by Two Incidents

Two incidents marred the Tisha B’Av fast in Jerusalem this year: the annual effort — foiled by police — by young ultranationalists to pray on the Temple Mount, and the daubing — apparently by ultra-Orthodox youth — of the graves of Theodor Herzl and of former President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi.

The daubings, in black and red paint, all referred to the controversial archaeological digs at the City of David and called on Prof. Yigal Shiloh, leader of the dig, to cease his operations. Orthodox spokesmen in the Mea Shearim quarter condemned the daubings and insisted that they and their people had had nothing to do with it.

In the effort to pray on the Temple Mount, police arrested several of the would-be prayers. Other than that, Tisha B’Av passed quietly in fairly cool temperatures. A congregation of many thousands more visited the Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem and the Cave of Machpela in Hebron today.