The Jerusalem Day
Skyline of the Old City and Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel.
Yom Yerushalayim or Jerusalem Day is the newest Jewish holiday. It was declared after the Six Day War in 1967. In that war Israel had released Jerusalem Old City with the most sacred place for all the Jews – The Western Wall of the Temple.
In 1948 when the Independence War had ended, the New City of Jerusalem was under control of the Israeli state and the Old City was controlled by Jordan. By the Armistice Agreement, Jordan had to allow the Jews to visit their part of the city and pray at the Western Wall. But this agreement was never respected and during next 19 years Jordanians forbade Jews to enter the Old City.
It was especially unfair and tough situation for Jews, because Jerusalem is their Holy City since the times of King David.
The release of Jerusalem was a culmination not only of the Six Days War but of all the incipient period of the history of the State of Israel.
General Moshe Dayan had said on that day in 1967: “This morning, the Israel Defense Forces liberated Jerusalem. We have united Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel. We have returned to the holiest of our holy places, never to part from it again”. For the first time in 2000 years the most sacred place of the Jews came under the Jewish control.
On May 12, 1968, the Israeli government declared a new holiday — Jerusalem Day to be kept on the 28th of Iyar (on this day by Jewish calendar Jerusalem became united). Jerusalem Day started to be a national holiday on March 23rd, 1998, when the “Jerusalem Day Law” passed in the Knesset.
Jerusalem Day is celebrated with memorial services in the honor of the city and the soldiers who died during its liberation. Special prayers are read to thank God for returning the city back to the Jews after two thousand years.
The famous Jerusalem Day Parade with thousands of Israel young people marching towards the Western Wall is held on this glorious day.