JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israelis observed Tisha B'Av, literally the ninth day of the month of Av on the Hebrew calendar, on Tuesday, marking the end of a three-week mourning period for catastrophes that have befallen the Jewish people.
Religious Jews mark the day with fasting and prayer, reading the Book of Lamentations while mourning the destruction of the First and Second Jewish Temples in 585 BC and 70 AD, respectively.
On this infamous day in Jewish history other tragedies befell the Jews, such as the expulsion of Spanish Jews who would not convert to Catholicism. It also marks the beginning of the end of the Warsaw Ghetto, where Polish Jews tried to survive annihilation by the Third Reich.
On Monday evening, hundreds joined the traditional walk around the Old City walls to commemorate the destruction of the temples. Israel Police protected the marchers as they encircled the ancient walls. One Israeli told CBN News Arab residents near the Damascus Gate shouted Allahu Akbar (Allah is Greater) as they walked by.
Thousands spent the night at the Western Wall Plaza praying and crying out to God to rebuild the structure that played such a central role in ancient Israel.