Jerusalem Day

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Jerusalem Day
Jom Jeruschalajim.jpg
Jerusalem Day 2007, Jaffa Road
Official name Hebrew: יום ירושלים‎ (Yom Yerushalayim)
Observed by Israelis, Jews
Significance The reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli control after the Six-Day War. The first time Jews control Jerusalem since the Destruction of the Second Holy Temple by the Romans in 70 AD.
Begins Iyar 28
2013 date May 8
2014 date May 28
Frequency annual

Jerusalem Day (Hebrew: יום ירושלים‎, Yom Yerushalayim) is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in June 1967. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel declared Jerusalem Day a minor religious holiday to thank God for victory in the Six-Day War and for answering the 2,000-year-old prayer of "Next Year in Jerusalem".

The day is marked by state ceremonies, memorial services for soldiers who died in the battle for Jerusalem, parades through downtown Jerusalem, reciting the Hallel prayer with blessings in synagogues, and saying the Pesukei Dezimra of Sabbath and High Holidays.[1] There are also lectures on Jerusalem-related topics, singing and dancing, and special television programming.[2] Schoolchildren throughout the country learn about the significance of Jerusalem, and schools in Jerusalem hold festive assemblies.[3] The day is also marked in Jewish schools around the world.[4][5]

History[edit]

Jerusalem Day 2004 at the Western Wall

Under the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which proposed the establishment of two states in the British Mandate of Palestine—a Jewish state and an Arab state—Jerusalem was to be an international city, neither exclusively Arab nor Jewish for a period of ten years, at which point a referendum would be held by Jerusalem residents to determine which country to join. The Jewish leadership accepted the plan, including the internationalization of Jerusalem, but the Arabs rejected the proposal.[6]

As soon as Israel declared its independence in 1948, it was attacked en masse by its Arab neighbours. Jordan took over east Jerusalem and the Old City. Israeli forces made a concerted attempt to dislodge them, but were unable to do so. By the end of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War Jerusalem was left divided between Israel and Jordan. The Old City and East Jerusalem continued to be occupied by Jordan, and the Jewish residents were forced out. Under Jordanian rule, 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.[7]

This state of affairs changed in 1967 as a result of the Six-Day War. Before the start of the war, Israel sent a message to King Hussein of Jordan saying that Israel would not attack Jerusalem or the West Bank as long as the Jordanian front remained quiet. Urged by Egyptian pressure and based on deceptive intelligence reports, Jordan began shelling civilian locations in Israel[8] to which Israel responded on June 6 by opening the eastern front. The following day, June 7, 1967 (28 Iyar 5727), Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem.

Later that day, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan declared what is often quoted during Yom Yerushalayim:[9][10]

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. To our Arab neighbors we extend, also at this hour—and with added emphasis at this hour—our hand in peace. And to our Christian and Muslim fellow citizens, we solemnly promise full religious freedom and rights. We did not come to Jerusalem for the sake of other peoples' holy places, and not to interfere with the adherents of other faiths, but in order to safeguard its entirety, and to live there together with others, in unity.[11]

The war ended with a ceasefire on June 11, 1967.

On May 12, 1968, the government proclaimed a new holiday—Jerusalem Day—to be celebrated on the 28th of Iyar, the Hebrew date on which the divided city of Jerusalem became one. On March 23, 1998, the Knesset passed the Jerusalem Day Law, making the day a national holiday.

One of the themes of Jerusalem Day, based on a verse from the Book of Psalms, is "Ke'ir shechubra la yachdav"—"Built-up Jerusalem is like a city that was joined together" (Psalm 122:3).[3]

Religious observance[edit]

Religious Zionists recite special holiday prayers with Hallel.[12] Although Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik was reluctant to authorise its inclusion in the liturgy,[13] other scholars, namely Meshulam Roth and others who held positions in the Israeli rabbinate, advocated the reciting of Hallel with its blessings, regarding it as a duty to do so. Today, various communities follow differing practices.[14]

Some Haredim (strictly Orthodox), who do not recognise the religious significance of the State of Israel, do not observe Yom Yerushalayim.[15][16] Rabbi Moses Feinstein maintained that adding holidays to the Jewish calendar was itself problematic.[17]

40th anniversary celebrations[edit]

Logo of 40th anniversary celebrations, Jaffa Gate

The slogan for Jerusalem Day 2007, marking the 40th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, was "Mashehu Meyuhad leKol Ehad" (Hebrew: משהו מיוחד לכל אחד‎, Something Special for Everyone), punning on the words "meyuhad" (special) and "me'uhad" (united). To mark the anniversary, the approach to Jerusalem on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway was illuminated with decorative blue lighting which remained in place throughout the year.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Machon Shilo - The Rebbe’s Hallel
  2. ^ Holidays: Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) in Israel
  3. ^ a b My Jewish Learning: Yom Yerushalayim
  4. ^ Save the Date for our Grand Opening Celebration!
  5. ^ News from SKA Yeshiva High School for Girls, Hebrew Academy of Long Beach
  6. ^ The Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA)
  7. ^ A New Ruin Rising - Forward.com"
  8. ^ Alan M. Dershowitz, The case for Israel, p.93/
  9. ^ Prime Minister speech
  10. ^ Knesset speeches
  11. ^ 40th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 16 May 2007
  12. ^ Rabbi Ariel, Yakov. "Hallel on Yom Yerushalayim". yeshiva.co. Retrieved 14 April 2013. 
  13. ^ Marc Angel (1997). Exploring the thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. KTAV Publishing House, Inc. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-88125-578-2. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  14. ^ Should one recite Hallel on Jerusalem Day?, Shlomo Brody, Jerusalem Post, 17 May, 2012.
  15. ^ Jewish Affairs. South African Jewish Board of Deputies. 1998. p. 41. Retrieved 8 May 2013. "Yet the attitude of the Adath, and indeed of all the Strictly Orthodox congregations, towards Israel and Zionism is paradoxical. On the one hand, events like Yom Ha-Atzma’ut, Yom Ha-Zikaron and Yom Yerushalayim are ignored…." 
  16. ^ Tzvi Rabinowicz (February 1997). A world apart: the story of the Chasidim in Britain. Vallentine Mitchell. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-85303-261-8. Retrieved 8 May 2013. "Although all Chasidim love Zion, they do not approve Zionism. They do not celebrate Yom Atzmaut (Israel's Independence Day), or Yom Yerushalayim (the annual commemoration of the liberation of Jerusalem)." 
  17. ^ Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society. Yeshiva Rabbi Jacob Joseph School. 1994. p. 61. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 

External links[edit]