Jerusalem Day (Hebrew: יום ירושלים, Yom Yerushalaim) is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of the old city from Jerusalem to the State of Israel in the aftermath of the 1967 war.
In 70 CE the Roman army conquered what had been the glory of the Jewish nation for a thousand years. They slaughtered Jerusalem and slaughtered or enslaved every Jewish resident.
Sixty-five years later, the Roman Emperor Adrian ravaged the city. In its ruins built Aelia Capitolina. The only Jews who were allowed entry were the Jewish slaves. And the name “Jerusalem” survived only in prayer books, from which the Jewish people have begged God three times a day to rebuild Jerusalem ever since.
When the Roman Empire reinvented itself as the Byzantine Empire in the fourth century, they brought back the name of the city, Jerusalem, but not the Jews of it. Those Jews, who still lived in flourishing communities in the Galilee and in the Golan Heights, were allowed entry only one day a year: in Tisha b’Av, the day of the destruction of the Holy Temple and Jerusalem. One of the historians of the time, Jeronimo, wrote: “The Jews can only come to mourn the destruction of the city, and they must buy the privilege of being able to mourn for the destruction of the city.”
The Arab conquest in 638 snatched the city from the Byzantines. Caliph Omar, the Muslim ruler, allowed the Jews to return. A large Jewish enclave settled north of the Temple Mount. The Mount Temple was obviously the crown of Jerusalem. The Roman Emperor Hadrian had built a temple for Jupiter in the ruins of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. The Byzantines had built a church there. Now the Muslims leveled the place and built the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque.
The Crusaders conquered Jerusalem in the year 1099 and killed all Jews and Muslims. A river of blood flowed through the sacred streets. Soon the Christians allowed the Jewish cloth dyers to return. Benjamin of Tudela wrote: “There are about 200 Jews living under the Tower of David.”
A century later, the Muslims under the leadership of Saladin overcame the Crusaders, and once again the Jews were allowed free access to Jerusalem. As Rav Shlomo ben Samson wrote: “We arrived in Jerusalem at the western end of the city, ripping our robes at the sight of it … it was a very emotional moment, and we wept bitterly.”
Al Aqsa – Mosque in Jerusalem, Israel
The Egyptian Mamluks (slave-soldiers) took over the city in 1250. When the famous Rav Moshe ben Najman (the Ramban) came from Spain he did not find enough Jews even to have minan. In a letter to his son, he wrote: “I am writing this letter from Jerusalem, the holy city … the most destroyed of all cities … We find a ruined house with marble pillars and a beautiful dome, and make it a synagogue … The houses of the city are abandoned, and anyone can claim them. ” The Ramban re-established the Jewish community of Jerusalem and made it grow.
In 1516, the Ottoman Turks conquered the city. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and motivated the exiled Jews of Spain to settle there. Less than a century later, however, the Turkish regime became corrupt. They imposed great taxes and many restrictions on the Jews of Jerusalem. However, attracted by their hearts and prayers, the Jews continued to return to Jerusalem.
By the middle of the nineteenth century the walled city of Jerusalem was so crowded with Jews that a few residents suggested moving out of the walls, but without the great protection of the stones they would be at the mercy of gangs of bandits. Sir Moshe Montefiore took the first step to solve the problem and built a protected enclosure on the outskirts of the wall; Twenty intrepid Jewish families went to reside there. Soon other Jewish enclaves were formed and the new city of Jerusalem extended beyond what later happened to be known as the Old City, as a herd expands around its matriarch.
The British defeated the Turks during World War I, and in 1917, General Allenby marched victoriously to the Old City. The British divided the Old City into four quarters: the Muslim Quarter (now half the Old Town area), the Christian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter, and the Armenian Quarter. The designations were fictitious: according to the British census itself, the majority of the residents of the “Muslim quarter” were Jews.
The British maintained the restrictions of the Turks on the Jews in the kotel (the Wailing Wall), the holiest Jewish site in the world by the Temple Mount. Only a narrow road was accessible for the Jews to pray. Jews were not allowed to take seats or benches to sit. They were not allowed to put a mitzvah like the one in the synagogues. Those Jews who dared to touch the shofar on Rosh Hashanah or at the end of Yom Kippur were arrested and imprisoned.
When, in May 1948, the British were forced by the UN to undertake withdrawal, the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and the Kotel, fell into the hands of the Jordanian army (known as the Arab Legion). All Jewish residents were exiled. The men were taken to Jordan as prisoners of war, and the women, children and elders were driven out by the Gate of Zion while those who had been their homes for generations were ransacked and burned after them.
For the first time in three millennia, the Old City of Jerusalem returned to the hands of the people who can not live without it and who considers this City one of the most valuable wonders in the history of mankind.
The nascent State of Israel, which had been born that month, proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital. David Ben Gurion, who was the first Israeli prime minister, declared: “The value of Jerusalem can not be measured, weighed, or put into words. If a land has a soul, Jerusalem is the soul of the land of Israel. “
The “new city” of Jerusalem, divided between Israel and Jordan, was filled with governmental, educational and cultural institutions. But his heart, the walled Old City, surrounded by a barbed wire and a menacing sign of “No man’s land,” remained outside Israel as, as in some cardiac operations, the patient’s heart is kept out of his body.
Jewish Prayers for Returning to Yerushalayim – Jewish Link Mexico
For nineteen years Jerusalem – the true Jerusalem, the Old City – withdrew from our lives to remain only in our prayers and desires. The greatest singer in Israel, Naomi Shemer, composed an unforgettable song, “Jerusalem of gold,” which became a hymn of longing for secular Jews, as was the psalm of “If I Forget You, Jerusalem” For religious Jews.
Then, on the 28th of the Jewish month of Iyar, on the third day of the Six Day War of 1967, as the Israeli army battled with the Jordanian army in areas around the Land of No One, Israeli commanders suddenly They realized that it might be possible to recover the Old City. In the Israeli army files there were detailed military plans for how to take every hill and field on earth, but there was no plan of how to take the Old City. Its thick walls, built to protect it from the invaders, had made it invincible in 1948, when dozens of Jewish warriors lost their lives trying to penetrate the bastion. But now, when miraculous victories were being achieved on each front, was it possible – indeed possible – to recover the Old City of Jerusalem?
Three soldiers admiring the Old City of Jerusalem for the first time
The order was issued to Brigade 55 of Motta Gur paratroopers to take the Old City. Being a secular Jew with the longing for Jerusalem running through his veins, Gur was overwhelmed by the responsibility that after 2,000 years he would command Jewish forces that would eventually bring Jerusalem back to Jewish sovereignty.
The paratroopers entered through the Lions Gate. To his surprise, out of occasional sniper shots, there was no greater resistance. Jordanian forces evacuated the night before. Israeli troops headed like a magnet directly to the Temple Mount. Motta Gur’s words, which were heard in bunkers and bomb shelters and military bases throughout Israel, would be remembered by modern Jewish history as the war cry of a once defeated but now victorious people: “Har Habayit be yadeinu , The Temple Mount is in our hands! “
The day is officially celebrated for state ceremonies and commemorative services. While the day is not traditionally celebrated outside Israel, and has lost its meaning for most secular Israelis, the day is still very much celebrated by the Zionist religious community of Israel with parades, other prayers in the synagogue and celebrations in the Streets
The Israeli Rabbinate declared Jerusalem Day a minor religious feast due to the restoration of access to the Western Wall and the opening of the Old City to all people who practice religions so they can connect spiritually.
Source: Aish latino