Ralph Kostant offers the following commentary on the Gaza pullout:
Immediately after the Jewish Sabbath, this Saturday night (August 13), begins the Fast of the Ninth of Av, the day on which religiously observant Jews mourn for the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. Because the United States of America has been so good to the Jewish people, it has always been mentally difficult for me to prepare for a fast day that emphasizes our continuing exile. (For traditional Jews, the existence of the State of Israel since 1948, does not mean that our divinely ordained exile has ended, even if we live in Israel. Many of us pray that it signifies “the first flowering of our redemption”). However, this year, sad to say, I have no problem whatsoever putting myself into the proper frame of mind of grief and loss. There is no question in my mind that the impending expulsion of Jews from Gaza and the Northern Shomron, although self-inflicted, is a symptom of our continuing exile. Here is an account of the last Sabbath of the Jewish residents of Gaza. I envy their faith and strength. On the Ninth of Av, my prayers and tears will be for them.
Ralph B. Kostant