Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim) is here! Today is the 28th of the Jewish month of Iyar, which in 1967 corresponded to the 6th of June.
On June 5, 1967 the Jewish neighborhoods of “West” Jerusalem were attacked. The bombardment destroyed residential, commercial, religious centers, schools, and hospitals. (Where was the condemnation of the UN?) . Then came Operation Focus – the surprise Israeli pre-emptive air strike which opened the war. The Six Day War had begun.
Contrary to popular misconception, it was not only Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, which attacked the 9 mile wide Jewish state – forces from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Kuwait, Tunisia, Sudan participates as well! This was not David against Goliath – it was David against 12 Goliaths! After two days of brave and historical battles, the Jewish people were once again reunited with the Old City of Jerusalem. Hebron and all the cities of the Bible followed soon after.
Once Jerusalem was unified and annexed, all of “East” Jerusalem’s Arab residents were offered full Israeli citizenship, though some chose to decline it. “East” Jerusalem’s Arab residents who are not citizens of the State of Israel still enjoy full municipal privileges and social benefits. Israel is the only place in the world where Arabs enjoy full democracy. It’s no wonder that Jerisalem’s Arab residents want to keep the city united under Israeli control!
Indeed, it is well beyond the majority and consensus of Israeli society that Jerusalem will never again be divided. There is no “West” Jerusalem or “East” Jerusalem. There is ONE Jerusalem – with religious access and freedom for all!
Chag Sameach! Happy Jerusalem Day!
By Rabbi Ari Enkin