Today is Rosh Chodesh Av. This means that eight days from today, we will observe Tisha B’av, the fast of the ninth day of Av.

This year that annual recalling of the ancient destruction of the Temple amidst a culture of hatred towards the Jews, coincides with a real time – contemporary unfolding of that attempt at destruction, stemming from a  modern day, deep seated hatred, one that seems to be in many ways far more sinister than its historical counterpart.

The javelins and spears hurled at our brethren by the Romans, while deadly, could only kill or wound us once.

The re-tweeting of hatred pierces our collective souls and threatens to kill us over and over again.

Today, it is no longer enough to win an enemy on the actual battleground.

Each victory must then be re-fought on the equally perilous battlefield of social media, and world opinion.

The troops on the ground in Gaza are the ones that will achieve the tactical victory in whatever military objective deemed necessary, in order to protect its civilian population from the terror tunnels, and the raining down of rockets on its citizens.

In the battlefield of public opinion, however the war has just begun.

This is one of the small ways that we can all be drafted, and enlist to fight for our Eretz Yisroel.

We must become the diaspora social media unit of the IDF.

As elite Jewish warriors of the virtual world, we must stand up for justice, and respond quickly and fiercely to the ongoing proliferation of lies and hypocrisy.

We must also be clear in the ways we articulate the intentions of our enemies here. Make no mistake, this is a foe that has consistently pushed for the total dismantling of the only Jewish state, the only safe haven our people have ever had.

The part time humanitarians who tweet their poison, while hiding behind hollow freedom slogans, and masquerading as champions of justice and righteousness, while they gleefully whitewash hamas crimes against humanity, are as guilty as the cowardly thugs they have sided with.

In this regard they virtually follow the hamas terror playbook of shooting rockets from hospitals and schoolyards.

We must be the Iron-dome of the social media – shooting down the hate Tweets and Facebook postings that hide smugly behind the guise of humanitarianism and social justice.

While the soldiers are destroying the tunnels of terror, we must work to expose the tunnels of terror that extends insidiously throughout the social media world.

The few out there, that are genuinely pushing for a peaceful coexistence in the region, something Israel has always dreamt of since its modern (re) founding in 1948- by pressuring Israel into even more suicidal territorial compromise, must be reminded over and over again that they are wasting their time and energy and letting down their own cause.

Certainly they are letting down the Palestinians whose freedom they fight for!

The only Palestinians that need to be freed are the ones imprisoned by Hamas in Gaza.

Blaming Israel here is eerily similar to the morally horrific blaming of rape victims, faulting them, for looking too attractive.

Sadly, in the past we have internalized this guilt, blaming ourselves, for the sadness, misery and failure of our neighbors to create a better life for themselves and their people.

We must vociferously fight this defeatist mentality that accepts “responsibility” and justifies the barbaric behavior of our enemies.

The canned automated response that I hear so often -“This underscores the need for a permanent solution” – or “there is no military solution” etc….well to be perfectly honest I’m not really sure of the best way to respond to that, other than to point out, that the swords have not yet been beaten into ploughshares and the wolf and the lamb don’t look like they will be lying down together, anytime soon.

To the contrary, we are dealing with a wolf that has become radicalized, one who wreaks havoc and spreads misery, wherever it is allowed to rear its ugly and brutal fundamentalist head.

Sadly there is no permanent solution for this growing threat to freedom and civilization, there is only the current defense oriented military response. I say this with sadness, but this is the truth. The language of appeasement, conveys weakness and indecisiveness, and is a language we can ill afford to speak right now.

The military response is only necessary if we believe in preserving basic human rights, democracy, equal rights for women, (including no forced female genital mutilation ) and allowing gay people to actually live.

If those values are important to you, than I suggest you get involved in supporting Israel – the only country in the region that does cherish those values, one that has created a society built on those principles, a country that truly is a light unto the nations, in every sense of the word.

I would add here, that if you are a person who truly believes in those values, then I am beyond bewildered as to why you wouldn’t be using every ounce of your energy, to support Israel in every possible way.

As we near the sad day of The Ninth of Av, its important to remember the Talmudic teaching regarding the destruction of the Bait Hamikdash – that had the nations that destroyed the holy temple in Jerusalem – only realized how they were the primary beneficiaries of the G-dly light of the Temple, not only would they not have destroyed it, they would have protected it with everything they had.

Truly relevant wisdom for our times!

The double expression of consolation from the Prophet Jeremiah, read on the Shabbat after the fast of Av,  “Nachamu Nachamu Ami – comfort ye, comfort ye my people” resonates in the strongest possible way this year.

We too are reassured of the double consolation, being comforted not only in the military victory, but also in the way in which we will continue to hold our heads high in pure Jewish pride, as we succeed in the articulating of the moral dimension as well, and internalize the truth here, namely – that we have nothing to be ashamed of!

The prophet fills us with hope and optimism, this year in particular – our annual message of comfort from the loss of the past, in ancient times -will be reinforced by the full victory tisha-ba-av-art  soon to be celebrated in present times.

Rabbi Yossi