According to Jewish tradition, the second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by Rome due to sinat chinam – hatred and infighting between Jews.
For that reason, since last year on the Fast of Av (Tisha B'Av – the 9th of Av) – which commemorates the destruction of both Holy Temples – two Israeli youth movements from opposite ends of the political and religious spectrum have agreed to come together for an event geared at engaging with one another and finding common ground, while tackling some of the most pressing issues in contemporary Israeli society.
For the second year, last night the religious-Zionist Bnei Akiva and secular-Zionist HaNoar HaOved VeHalomed youth movements once again held their joint event on the night of Tisha B'Av. The event took place in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square – named after assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
While acknowledging the numerous, sometimes fundamental, differences between the sides on all manner of topics, leaders from both movements called on Israelis and Jews throughout the world to "rise above" all that and find common ground.
That message appears to be resonating; organizers say this year's turnout was significantly greater than last year's, and voiced confidence they could take the sense of unity into the rest of the year.