This past Sunday was the 17th Tammuz in the Jewish Calendar. It marks the anniversary of the day the Roman siege broke through the walls of Jerusalem almost 2000 years ago. It is also the start of a three week mourning period leading up to Tish’a B’Av (this year starting on the evening of August 9) which is (along with Yom Kippur) the only full day fast on the Jewish calender it marks the day that both of the Jewish Temples were destroyed.
In Jewish tradition, anything really bad happening to the Jews as a people, starts on or around this three week period. Arial Sharon’s disengagement from Gaza, which allowed Hamas to become so powerful, began the Day after Tish’a B’Av, and much of the preparation took place the during the three weeks. The horrible release of a baby killer to Hezbollah took place last week just before the three weeks and the news that Israel is releasing possibly HUNDREDS of additional prisoners was released today again within the three weeks of mourning.
For those of you who are looking at all this as coincidence let be give you two more examples. Yesterdays Bulldozer terror attack, and something that could end up being as damaging to the modern Jewish State as Rome breaching the walls of Jerusalem almost two millenniums ago, Barack Obama is in Jerusalem:
Obama in Jerusalem
All eyes will be on Senator Obama today when he visits the capital of Israel, where he will have an opportunity to signal whether the change he has in mind is the kind we, or anyone else, can believe in. These columns have never bought into the idea that his world view has been irrevocably poisoned by the kind of bigotry he listened to from the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. On the contrary, our view has been that the most important thing about Mr. Obama is that even after he listened to all that bigotry from the Rev. Wright, he entered our national public life sketching support for the Jewish state. This came to a head with his remarks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, where he made his now famous statement that Jerusalem “will remain the capital of Israel, and must remain undivided.” No sooner were those remarks published than the senator’s advisers, and then the senator, started backtracking. This was reviewed last week in these pages by the editor of JewishCurrentIssues.com, Rick Richman, who concluded that Mr. Obama had not merely been guilty of “some poor phrasing,” as the senator had put it to Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek, but had changed his position and stands for dividing Jerusalem again. One way to put that would be that Mr. Obama is spurning American law, enacted with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, signed into law in 1995 by President Clinton after being passed by overwhelming bi-partisan margins in both the House and the Senate. It enacted a “Statement of the Policy of the United States” holding that “Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected” and that “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.” What, after all, does Mr. Obama think of that law and what does he think it means when it says that Jerusalem should remain “an undivided city”? Mr. Obama tried to explain it again yesterday in an interview with Katie Couric, telling her, “there was no shift in policy or backtracking in policy. We just had phrased it poorly in the speech. That has happened and will happen to every politician. You’re not always gonna hit your mark in terms of how you phrase your policies. But my policy hasn’t changed, and it’s been very consistent. It’s the same policy that Bill Clinton has put forward and that says that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel, that we shouldn’t divide it by barbed wire, but that, ultimately that is a final status issue that has to be resolved between the Palestinians and the Israelis.” This, too, raises more questions than answers. Was the phrasing also poor in a 2000 position paper when he said, “Jerusalem should remain united and should be recognized as Israel’s capital”? And if barbed wire is an unacceptable division of Jerusalem, what would he find acceptable in the way of division? Is it his position that the reference to a divided Jerusalem is just about barbed wire and not about sovereignty by the Jewish state over the full extent of its capital and over the Temple Mount? If that is the case, he will be seen as paltering. Senator Moynihan once told us that Prime Minister Begin once told him that he didn’t want Jerusalem to be decided in the United States Congress. The thing to listen for when Mr. Obama sits down with Israel’s elected leadership is what the Jewish state wants in respect of Jerusalem. For, as Mr. Moynihan understood, at the end of the day, it is neither the Congress, the State Department, Senator Obama, nor Senator McCain who decides what is Israel’s capital and whether it will be divided. It is the Israeli democracy and its elected leadership. And if Mr. Obama comes back with that truth clear in his mind’s eye, his campaign will have been strengthened by the visit he is about to make.