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Israeli soldiers in Gaza exempt from Tisha b’Av fast, chief rabbis rule

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli soldiers talking part in the Gaza operation are exempted from fasting on Tisha b’Av, the chief rabbis of Israel ruled.

Rabbis David Lau (Ashkenazi) and Yitzhak Yosef (Sephardi) presented their ruling on Jewish law, or halachah, on Monday — the fast was to begin at sundown.

“As IDF soldiers are standing on the frontline and fighting and sacrificing their lives for the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, we hereby declare that according to Jewish law, soldiers on the frontline are exempt from fasting on Tisha B’Av, and all the mourning laws do not apply to them,” the ruling stated.

Tisha b’Av, which ends on Tuesday after sundown, commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem.

Lau also ruled that during the nine days preceding the fast, when Jews refrain from listening to music, religious artists could perform for the soldiers to provide encouragement, Ynet reported.

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