Thousands of Israelis gathered in Jerusalem on Thursday to celebrate Jerusalem Day, commemorating the historic capture of the Old City and the Temple Mount by Israeli paratroopers during the 1967 Six-Day War.
This year marked the 56th anniversary of the significant event, which holds great significance for the Israeli people.
The day began with a vibrant flag march that started in west Jerusalem and made its way through the streets towards the Old City. Tens of thousands of participants, including both young and old, waved Israeli flags and sang patriotic songs as they expressed their joy and pride in their nation’s history. The atmosphere was filled with enthusiasm and a sense of unity among the participants.
During the ’67 war, Israeli Colonel Motta Gur made a historic declaration, proclaiming, “The Temple Mount is in our hands!” This momentous event symbolized a significant turning point, as it marked the restoration of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people after a span of more than 2,000 years.
In a report by CBN News, Former General Uzi Dayan, who personally experienced the events as a young fighter during that time, shared his perspective . He recollected the conclusion of the Six-Day War when they were given the option to return home, but instead, they chose to make their way to their true home: Jerusalem. Dayan vividly describes the overwhelming emotions they felt, as if they were living in a dream. Subsequently, he went on to contribute his expertise as a national security advisor to two prime ministers, furthering his deep connection to Jerusalem and its liberation.
“Actually, I was here in ’67. I was a very young fighter and at the ending of the Six-Day War, they told us, ‘You can go home.’ And nobody went home. We went to our real home: to Jerusalem. And we were wandering around, and it was like a dream. So, it’s nice to come here.”
“It’s very important today because what brings Israelis, Jewish Israelis, together (is) actually Jerusalem – your homeland, Judaism,” Dayan said. “It’s actually a very strong statement which says this is our country, this is our land, this is our city and Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the state of Israel but also of the Jewish people.”
Following a recent five-day conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, a march took place shortly thereafter. Despite concerns voiced by Hamas about potential retaliation should the march pass through the Muslim section of the Old City, the event proceeded according to the original plan. Overall, the gathering was largely peaceful, aside from a few minor altercations between certain participants, Palestinians, and members of the media.
The march culminated at the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism, located in the Old City. The Western Wall holds deep religious and cultural significance for Jews worldwide. After years of being denied access to this sacred site during the period of Jordanian rule over east Jerusalem, the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 allowed Jews to once again visit and worship at the Western Wall. This has become a symbol of national identity and spiritual connection for the Jewish people.
Jerusalem Day serves as a reminder of the historical significance of Jerusalem to the Israeli people and their unwavering attachment to the city. It also underscores the ongoing challenges in achieving a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and finding a mutually acceptable arrangement for Jerusalem’s future.