Celebrating Jerusalem Day in 2016. (Nati Shohat/Flash90) (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Jerusalem flag

In celebration of the liberation of the eternal Jewish capital, young Jewish adults from around the world are invited to experience their homeland not as tourists, but as Israelis.

On June 5th, Jews around the world will celebrate the liberation of Jerusalem during the Six Day War, along with Judea and Samaria and the strategic Golan Heights.

Areas of the biblical Land of Israel which had remained under foreign occupation between 1948 and 1967 include: eastern Jerusalem, including the Old City and the Temple Mount; Judea, the birthplace of King David; Samaria, where the Kingdom of Israel had ruled for several centuries; Gaza, where Jews have lived for millennia; and the Golan Heights, where Jews have been making wine and growing wheat since King David had chased away the Arameans. The IDF also captured the Sinai during the Six Day War, but returned it to Egypt after signing a peace treaty in March 1979.

The World Zionist Organization (WZO) is celebrating the landmark historical event by inviting Jews from around the world to visit and experience Israel’s historic capital as part of a new initiative: L’Chaim Yerushalayim (To LIfe- Jerusalem).

The project, which takes place in May, invites young adults aged 18-30 from Jewish communities around the world to attend in groups or as individuals. The objective is to offer them the opportunity to get a glimpse of real life in Israel and to experience their homeland not as tourists, but as Israelis.

WZO will arrange for participants to stay with host families all around Israel, who will facilitate their journey. The organization will also offer a wide range of free and discounted events, enabling the visitors to construct a custom-made experience of  historic, multicultural and colorful Jerusalem. These will include cultural events, culinary tours, visits to heritage sites, performances, meetings and advocacy conferences.

Examples include ‘A Night Spectacular’ light and sound show, a Jerusalem Day memorial ceremony at Mount Herzl, the ‘Flag Dance’ Jerusalem Day parade from the Knesset to the Western Wall, visits to the Machane Yehuda open-air market, the Old City, Mount Scopus and much more.

WZO Vice Chairman Yaakov Hagoel noted that “the 50th anniversary of its unification gives cause to reflect on the true beauty of Jerusalem – a symbol of Jewish pride, freedom and unification. “

“In the face of escalating antisemitism worldwide, we must always remain unified and celebrate our Jewish heritage,” he said. “Our new initiative, L’Chaim Yerushalayim, will provide the leaders of the next generation with the tools to forge their own experience of Jerusalem, connect with Jewish young adults from Israel and around the world and rejoice in commemorating the historical unification of the Jewish capital.”

The year 2017 will also see another three milestone celebrations in the history of Zionism and the State of Israel. August 31 marks the 120th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress in 1897, November 2 marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and November 29 marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ decision to establish a Jewish state in the Land of Israel.

By: United with Israel Staff

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