Main image: Temple Mount © Global Look Press; inset: Fox © Global Look Press
The foxes were spotted ahead of the Tisha B’av religious festival, which begins on August 10 and commemorates the destruction of the two temples in Jerusalem, first by the Babylonians and later by the Romans.
“One cannot refrain from crying at the site of the fulfillment of the prophecy of ‘foxes will walk on it’” said Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites. He was referring to the Book Of Lamentations (5:18), a passage which tells the story of the Babylonians’ destruction of the first temple in Jerusalem and a prophecy that the site would one day be inhabited by foxes.
This particular passage is, in turn, tied to a prophecy by the Prophet Zechariah as explained in the Talmud (Makkot 24b) that the temple will one day be rebuilt.
“Until the prophecy of Uriah with regard to the destruction of the city was fulfilled, I was afraid that the prophecy of Zechariah would not be fulfilled, as the two prophecies are linked,” Tractate Makkot 24b reads.
The group of about a dozen foxes were seen in the southwestern area of the Western Wall over the past few days. This is the only surviving section of the Second Jewish Temple. The Book of Lamentations (5:18) is traditionally read during the upcoming religious festival.
The Temple Mount is one of the holiest spots in Jerusalem and is a focal point for the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths alike.