JERUSALEM, Israel -- Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, will arrive in Israel as the nation begins observing Tisha B’av, a somber day of fasting, mourning and repentance.
This year, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av falls on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, so the 25-hour complete fast will be observed the following day, just in time for Romney’s arrival.
On Tisha B’Av, Jews read the prophet Jeremiah’s Book of Lamentations and mourn the destruction of the first Temple by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. and the second Temple by the Romans in 70 A.D. Other tragedies befell the Jewish people on this day, including the expulsion of Spanish Jews from their homes in 1492.
Click here to view "Tisha B'Av: The Children are Ready" video posted on YouTube.
It would seem an odd time for Romney’s visit, but his decision to be here on the day Israelis mark the suffering of the Jewish people could fortify his promises to improve the present administration’s record -- especially in view of Iranian threats to wipe Israel off the map.
Last week in Reno, Romney told the Israeli daily Israel Hayom he “would treat Israel like the friend and ally it is.”
“I cannot imagine going to the United Nations, as Obama did, and criticizing Israel in front of the world,” Romney said. “You don’t criticize your allies in public to achieve the applause of your foes.” Disagreements should be discussed in “private conversations, not in public forums,” he said.
According to Jerusalem Post political analyst Herb Keinon, the average Israeli knows little about Romney. In fact, he says, the only thing Israelis really know about him is that he’s not Obama.
But one Israeli organization took out a full-page ad in Friday’s Post under the banner, “Americans in Israel Welcome Gov. Romney to Israel.”
“Twice in history Jerusalem was destroyed on the Ninth of Av. This year, Americans in Israel are voting to guarantee it will never happen again,” the ad simply states.