Romney visits Western Wall on Tisha B’Av
July 29, 2012 1 Comment
By Lauren Appelbaum, Political Director
Washington, July 29 – Though widely expected, U.S. presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made an unscheduled visit to the Western Wall Sunday afternoon during prayers marking Tisha B’Av.
Romney arrived in Israel Saturday evening, the beginning of Tisha B’Av, an annual Jewish fast day that commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred on the same Hebrew calendar date. The day, which has been called the saddest day in Jewish history, also commemorates other Jewish tragedies that occurred on this day, most notably the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.
Romney was joined by his wife Ann, son Josh, a large number of aides and and several top donors. Approximately 20 donors have traveled to Jerusalem for a fundraiser Monday morning at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.
The group was shown a diagram of the second Temple, of which the wall is the only remnant. The destruction of the Second Temple by Roman forces nearly 2000 years ago is one of the events mourned on this day, contributing to big crowds gathered there today.
Mitt and Ann Romney then walked to separate portions of the Wall for men and women. Rabbi Schmuel Rabinowitz, the chief rabbi of the wall, read Romney a passage, and the former governor placed his hand on the wall in prayer. Both Mitt and Ann Romney wrote personal messages or prayers on pieces of paper and tucked them into cracks in the wall, as is tradition. Some in the crowd shouted out greetings more typical of campaign rallies than the Western Wall — “Jerusalem, the capital of Israel!” and “Beat Obama, governor!”
Also while in Israel, Romney met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.