Israel is celebrating the 48th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, which was captured during the miraculous Six Day War in 1967.
Jerusalem Day, known in Hebrew as Yom Yerushalayim, commemorates the 1967 reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty as the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish people.
This reality was merely a dream not too long ago. For over 2,000 years, the Jewish people dreamed of one day returning to their ancestral homeland in an independent Jewish state with a united Jerusalem as its capital.
Since the establishment of the Jewish State until the Six Day War, Jews did not have access to the Kotel (Western Wall) in the Old City. Following Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, Jordan forcefully evicted Jerusalem’s ancient Jewish community from their homes, destroyed 48 of the 49 historic synagogues within the Old City and utilized ancient graves located on the Mount of Olives for latrines. After 19 years, the Jewish national capital was reunited and is now thriving.
Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has declared Jerusalem Day to be a minor religious holiday, recognizing that the 1967 victory was a gift from God.
One example of the miracles during the Six Day War occurred in Jerusalem. One night, an IDF truck full of ammunition was parked outside of a building; an enemy shell hitting the truck supposedly would have destroyed every building that surrounded it. On that fateful night, an enemy shell did hit that truck, but miraculously, the shell did not explode and all of the Israelis living nearby were saved.
Another miracle happened in Shechem, aka Nablus. The Arabs there mistook IDF soldiers for the Iraqi army, thus welcoming the IDF into the city. By the time they realized that the soldiers were Israeli, it was too late. This significantly helped Israel’s conquest of Shechem.
In yet another miracle, when Israeli forces reached the Straits of Tiran, Egyptian forces located at the site refrained from shooting at the Israelis, thus making the conquest of the Straits of Tiran much easier. As the military correspondent for the secular Ha’aretz daily commented: “Even a non-religious person must admit this war was fought with help from heaven.”
On Jerusalem Day, synagogues within Israel are full of people thanking God for the miracles of the Six Day War. Jews usually wear special holiday clothing and have special meals in honor of Jerusalem. Memorial services are also held for Israeli soldiers who perished while defending the Jewish people’s eternal capital city. In Jerusalem itself, a special march is organized and includes the participation of thousands of Israelis from all walks of life, dancing with Israeli flags.
By Rachel Avraham