jerusalem day: Jerusalem Day, or Yom Yerushalayim in Hebrew, is coming up this Sunday, May 20th. It is a national Israeli holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in June 1967. Jerusalem day was declared by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel as a minor religious holiday, to thank God for the miraculous victory in the Six-Day War and for answering the 2,000-year-old prayer of “Next Year in Jerusalem”.

The day is celebrated with ceremonies, memorial services for soldiers who died in the battle for Jerusalem, parades through downtown Jerusalem, and the reciting of special prayers of thanks to God in the synagogues. There are also lectures on Jerusalem-related topics, singing and dancing, and schoolchildren throughout the country learn about the significance of Jerusalem hold festive assemblies. The day is also marked in Jewish schools around the world focusing on the miracle of the 1967 War and the holiness of Jerusalem.

Background

1967 warImmediately after Israel declared its independence in 1948, the neighboring Arab countries attacked, resulting in the Arab-Israeli War. At the end of this war, the city of Jerusalem was divided. Israeli forces controlled most of the city, however East Jerusalem, including the Old City, was controlled by Jordanian forces. The Old City was important for strategic and religious reasons, as many sites of religious importance are in this part of the city.

On June 7, 1967, one day into the Six-Day War, Israeli forces captured the old city of Jerusalem, which resulted in the reunification of Jerusalem as part of Israel.

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.

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