In the Haftara for Minha on Tish'a Be'av, we just read the same Haftara that we will read for Shabbat Teshuva (aka Shabbat Shuva) that starts
שובה ישראל עד ה' אלקיך.
The third verse of the Haftara (Verse 4
), we tell Hashem:
אַשּׁוּר לֹא יוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ, עַל-סוּס לֹא נִרְכָּב, וְלֹא-נֹאמַר עוֹד אֱלֹהֵינוּ, לְמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ--אֲשֶׁר-בְּךָ, יְרֻחַם יָתוֹם.
Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses; neither will we call any more the work of our hands our gods; for in Thee the fatherless findeth mercy.
We know that the words of our prophets were not only for the times they were written, but also for our times. If not, they would not have been codified in the 24 books of Tana"ch.
The identity of Ashur nowadays has always been intriguing. It had to have been a nation that could help out the Jewish people, but one we cannot rely upon in the most trying times. Many past suggestions included the US, the USSR (phonologically similar), France, etc. However, none of these suggestions are geographically compatible.
Therefore, it seems that the Ashur of nowadays refers to the Kurds. They are currently supplying oil to Israel and have had a somewhat friendly relationship with Israel for years. And their land is the Northern part of the the Ancient Assyrian Empire.
Another possibility is that Ashur refers to ISIS, who just invaded Lebanon
, and control the successor of Ashur's capital city of Nineveh - Mosul. They would theoretically fight Hezbollah, which would unwittingly help Israel even though they hate Israel just the same.
The next part of the verse על סוס לא נרכב is widely attributed (Rashi, Mahari Kara, Ibn Ezra
) to Egypt. El-Sisi's Egypt has been uncharacteristically friendly to Israel recently, perhaps due to our mutual antipathy of Hamas, but there's definitely a difference now that the Muslim Brotherhood is not in power there. And the current government seems to even be a step up from Mubarak. It would be a rare occurrence if Egypt would ever condemn the Palestinians a few years ago, but that is happening nowadays.
The verse is telling us that despite all this new-found friendliness, we will find out pretty quickly that these nations will not help us in our time of need. Rather, it is only HKB"H Who will help us and will have mercy on our fatherless generation. May that mercy be in the form of Redemption speedily.