Tishah b'Ab (aka Tisha B'Av) this year starts at sunset on Monday, July 19, and continues until nightfall on Tuesday, July 20.
A day of fasting, mourning, and sober contemplation, this is considered the saddest day in Jewish history.
On this ninth day of the Jewish calendar month of Ab, the temple built by Solomon was destroyed. On this same date 656 years later (Western calendar 70 A.D.) the second Jewish temple was destroyed and Jerusalem razed by the Roman Empire.
On Tishah b'Ab in the Western year 135, the Romans snuffed out a Jewish rebellion led by Simon bar Kokhba.
On Tishah b'Ab in the Christian year 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain. In 1942, deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to death camps began.
This year in Jerusalem Tishah b'Ab, Jewish year 5770, brings more danger.
Only 10 percent of Israeli Jews in the latest Jerusalem Post poll think President Barack Obama is pro-Israel, but 46 percent say the U.S. president is pro-Palestinian.
These numbers scarcely changed from an earlier poll taken before Mr. Obama two weeks ago showed deference to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In June, Obama treated the Jewish state's elected leader with disrespect at a White House meeting, and this has apparently made a lasting impression on Israelis.
Israelis have learned by his words and deeds just how untrustworthy Obama is, and American Jews too are beginning to open their eyes.
President Obama, for example, agreed with Arab nations to a new review document of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that urges "Israel to sign the treaty," the New York Times reported on July 3, "a way of spotlighting [Israel's] historically undeclared nuclear weapons.
"Israel believed it had assurances from the Obama administration that it would reject efforts to include such a reference, an Israeli official said, and it saw this as another sign of unreliability by its most important ally."
President Obama is pressuring Israel to join his crusade for nuclear disarmament. At present, Israel's 400 secret nuclear weapons along with American backing are what let 5 million Israelis deter invasion by 100 million surrounding Muslims.
Obama is implicitly threatening to reduce U.S. backing unless Israel dismantles its ability to defend itself.
Meanwhile, in nearby Iran, nearly 4,000 uranium-enrichment centrifuges are producing the prime ingredient for nuclear weapons, and President Obama's only response is to talk and impose ineffective sanctions.
In a chilling article in the current Weekly Standard, contributing editor Reuel Marc Gerecht reports that 3,000-centrifuge cascade can produce enough fuel in 271 days for one atomic bomb.
Iran, he writes, has already installed 8,528 such centrifuges and built space for 50,000 of them, "which could produce enough fuel for one warhead every 16 days."
Iran is a medieval theocratic dictatorship that funds and arms the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas. Some of Iran's leadership ridicules the Holocaust, openly calls for the destruction of Israel, and believes that they can bring the final global triumph of Islam via its prophesied messianic figure the Mahdi by nuclear war.
Will President Obama strike Iran's widely-dispersed nuclear facilities? In 2008 on the campaign trail he said that Iran must be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Since he became president, the strongest posture to come out of Democratic foreign policymakers was Zbigniew Brzezinski's warning in a Sept. 17, 2009, Daily Beast interview that Obama might stop Israeli jets from overflying our warships in the Persian Gulf en route to pre-empt Iran's facilities.
Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim states of the region would join President Obama in condemning such an Israeli strike, but they privately would celebrate the de-fanging of Iran's fanatical Shiite regime.
If Obama dithers, holding Israel back until Iran acquires nuclear weapons, get ready for wealthy oil states in the region such as Saudi Arabia to buy their own nuclear weapons capability, probably from Pakistan.
In pursuit of his ideal of global disarmament, President Obama is about to give us a Middle East of unstable, terrorist-infested nations bristling with nuclear weapons.
Does he understand that the Islamist radicals who will tote made-in-Iran nukes across his unguarded Mexican border are in their own crazed way moralistic?
They will first target those American cities they deem most decadent and sinful — including New York City and Washington, D.C.
This is something to think about on Tishah b'Ab.
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