Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim) is the day that commemorates Israel's re-gain of control over the city in 1967. It is celebrated every year in May or June, with festivities and events held across Jerusalem.
In The USA we have the Golden Gate but in Israel, we have the City of Gold, Jerusalem.
Golden gate is beautiful and fierce and strong and carries a lot of cars and traffic but…
Have you ever seen Jerusalem at sunrise or sunset? Its golden colors are simply amazing, it’s a beauty that exists only in Jerusalem.
The city is sacred and Holy in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It was the center of the life of the Jewish people in ancient times as well as today, and the object of longing for the people of Israel during their exile. Because of its religious importance for the three religions, the city has throughout history been the focus of wars and conflicts, which continue to this day.
Throughout its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, captured, and recaptured 44 times, and attacked 52 times.
Jerusalem has many names in many Jewish books such as Jerusalem, Shalom, Yira, Jebus, Zion, Heftziba, Meshosh Tevel, Jerusalem, Yaffa Nof, Kiryat Melech Rav, and the City of David, each name originating from a different historical period.
According to archaeological finds, the settlement of Jerusalem dates to the Chalcolithic period, around the 5th millennium BC.
The transformation of Jerusalem from a temporary settlement into a permanent city took place during the 19th century BC.
And now lets just fast forward to the 20th century when in 1917, Jerusalem came under the rule of the British Mandate, which established it as the capital of the Land of Israel and concentrated its institutions of government, including the seat of the High Commissioner, government ministries, the Supreme Court, and the Central Prison.
On November 29, 1947, following the declaration of the partition of the Land of Israel at the UN General Assembly, the War of Independence broke out.
The Arab fighting forces in the city included residents and auxiliary forces of volunteers, who were sent to it on behalf of Arab countries. These forces included the "Arab Legion", the "Muslim Brotherhood" and a regular army from Egypt. The forces laid siege to the entry of Jews and stopped supplying water to its residents. The defense of the city and the surrounding settlements was entrusted to the “Etzioni Brigade”, while the corridor to Jerusalem was entrusted to the Palmach's “Harel Brigade”. Water and equipment. Till today you can see the burned armed cars from 1948 on the side of the road to Jerusalem called Shaar Hagay (the Valley’s Gate) which are left as monuments for all those who gave their lives in the Supply Convoys to Jerusalem which were attacked by the Arab Legion.
In May 1948 the British left the city and the war intensified. The old city fell to the Jordanian forces, who took control of the east of the city. At the same time, the Jewish force took control of the Arab neighborhoods in the west of the city. The siege of the city continued until the Burma Road finally broke through, in July 1948, after which convoys that provided food and equipment to the city's residents could travel to it continuously and with relative security.
In November 1948 a ceasefire was declared in the city and the war ended. A year later, on December 5, 1949, David Ben-Gurion declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
Between 1948 and 1967, the city was divided. The municipal line was the armistice line, as agreed in the Rhodes Agreements, as a section of the Green Line. It was seven kilometers long, and it divided the city between East Jerusalem, then part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and West Jerusalem, which was controlled by the State of Israel. On either side of the line the sides laid out fortifications and obstacles, and various buildings along it served as military posts. The entire Old City, the neighborhoods north of it, and the Mount of Olives were included in Jordanian control. The western part of the city, as well as an enclave on Mount Scopus in the northeast of the city, were included under Israeli control.
I guess by now you realized from this summarized history lesson that the Kotel the Jewish Holy of Holiness was in the hands of the Jordanians between 1948 till June 7th, 1967.
On June 7th, 1967 when Rabi Goren z”l, then the chief rabbi of the IDF announced over the radio “Har Habayit (Temple Mount) is in our hands” and blew the Shofar, a lot of people in Israel missed a beat, tears were shed, soldiers cried, and the joy was immense, on May 12th, 1968 the Israeli government declared that Israel will celebrate Jerusalem day on the 28th day of the Month of Iyar each year.
On Jerusalem Day, we celebrate having Jerusalem and the Kotel in Jewish hands and having free access to visit the Kotel and other holy places in the Old City of Jerusalem while respecting the Christians, Armenians, Russians, Ethiopians, and Muslims that worship in the same city.
If you ever visited the old city of Jerusalem, you know that the old city is divided into 4 quarters, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Armenia, this is a symbol that four cultures can coexist together and be friends with each other.
Jerusalem is a city of lots of different smells, sights, colors, tastes, and people, dressed in different fashion styles, languages so many of them are spoken in the market going down from Jaffa Gate to the Kotel, happy people, old people, young people, just people.
We can all live side by side and be happy, like an old merchant in the old city once told me: “please come visit we are all brothers and cousins, we should be able to be in peace and let each other life, it’s good for business and its good for our life.”
Jerusalem is the city of gold and the city of hope that one day all our world will be one happy Jerusalem with all the different colors in it.
Happy Jerusalem Day.