This Wednesday Israel will be celebrating the most significant day in her recent history. Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem. So what does that mean?
Israel didn’t always have access to the walled city of Jerusalem—also known as the Old City. We have not always been able to wind our way through her stone streets and make our way to our most holy site—the Kotel—the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. During the War for Independence, the Jordanians and the Arab Legion drove the Jewish residents out of the Old City. For nineteen years after the War for Independence, the city of Jerusalem was divided between the Jordanian side and the Israeli side. The Old City was on the Jordanian side.
In 1967, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria prepared to make war with Israel, but Israel struck first. For six days a mighty battle waged between IDF soldiers and three Arab nations. Many lives were lost; Israel mourned a great loss of life but nevertheless won the battle and captured the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and the Kotel. Today, this war is famously referred to as the Six-Day War.
In this short video clip you can get a glimpse of the battle and even hear the famous line, “The Temple Mount is in our hands!”
Yom Yerushalayim is the day we celebrate the victory and the reunification of Jerusalem—meaning the rejoining of the two sides of Jerusalem. Today, Jews, Arabs, and Christians are all free to roam about the Old City‘s mysterious holy streets, visit holy sites, and draw near to God‘s dwelling place. Every year, hundreds of thousands of God‘s people come from distant nations to walk in the footsteps of their spiritual heritage. Just as the prophets foretold, her gates once again bustle with people.
This Wednesday (May 24), Israelis from all over the country will come to Jerusalem. There will be dancing in her streets, concerts in her parks, and, toward sunset, all her youth will march around her glistening city walls in celebration of our holy city. Together we will march as a nation to our most holy and beloved of places: the Western Wall. There we will jump up and down, laugh, dance, and celebrate the gift of God‘s holy city: Jerusalem.