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Celebrating Israel

YOM YERUSHALAYIM - JERUSALEM DAY

In the year 70 C.E. we lost the heart of our nation: Jerusalem.

Our focal point and safe haven gone, we were scattered unto the nations. For thousands of years the singular hope of our ancestors was to regain Jerusalem and dwell again in Zion, as free men and women.

Three times a day Jewish people turned to Jerusalem, to pray. Every Passover, each Seder ends with the declaration: “Next year in Jerusalem, rebuilt!”. No Jewish wedding is complete without first declaring that, Jerusalem comes first, above all other joys and commemorating the destruction of the Temple with the breaking of a glass.

In 1948, as soon as Israel declared independence, she was attacked by her Arab neighbors. Jordan conquered east Jerusalem, including the Old City and the Temple Mount. Under Jordanian occupation, Jewish residents of Jerusalem were forced out, half of the Old City's fifty-eight synagogues were demolished and the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives was plundered for its tombstones, which were used as paving stones and building materials.

In 1967, the day of reckoning was upon us – the Six Day War. Before the war, Israel sent a message to King Hussein of Jordan saying that as long as the Jordanian front remained quiet, Israel would not attack Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria (also occupied by Jordan). Urged by Egyptian pressure and based on deceptive intelligence reports, Jordan began shelling civilian locations in Israel to which Israel responded on June 6th by opening the eastern front. The following day, June 7, 1967 (28 Iyar 5727), Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem.

A cry was shouted into the pages of history on that day when the Israeli army said " The Temple Mount is in our hands!" Although the State of Israel had been declared in 1948, this was the moment when the Jewish people fulfilled the yearning detailed in our anthem, Hatikvah: “the 2000 year hope, of being a free nation, in our land, Zion and JERUSALEM.”

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of the liberation and unification of Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty is the commemoration of a 2000 year old dream, made a reality: Jerusalem and the Temple Mount at her center, the heart of our people, returned to the people.