Israel is known as a land of miracles, and few have been as great as the reunification of Jerusalem as an undivided city in 1967. The tiny Jewish state had already been attacked by its neighbors immediately when it declared independence in 1948 and again in 1956. On May 27, 1967 Egyptian President Nasser announced his intent to destroy the State of Israel—a goal that many of Israel’s “neighbors” still share. Knowing that Arab armies were preparing to attack yet again, the Israeli military undertook a brilliant preemtpive strike, taking the Golan Heights from Syria; Judea and Samaria (called the West Bank) from Jordan, and most critically, the Old City of Jerusalem. The feckless UN had declared Jerusalem an “international” city but Jordan had seized control over it in 1948, barring all Jews from it.
Jerusalem is Judaism’s holiest site and has stood as the capital of the Jewish nation for 3,000 years. The miracle of its recapture was so momentous that soldiers danced, sang and cried at the Western Wall. Notably, Israel has kept Jerusalem open to people of all faiths. On this date on the Hebrew calendar (Iyar 28), we celebrate this tremendous, and tremendously hard-won blessing.
To mark this day, I am sharing a few links to articles and a video that offer insiders’ views to Jerusalem, its life force, and its return to the Jewish nation. I hope you enjoy them.
“If Israel had its way when the Six Day War broke out 46 years ago, Jordanian soldiers might still be walking the ramparts of Jerusalem’s Old City.”—The Battle for Jerusalem by Abraham Rabinovich, an American reporter on the scene at that time.
Why is the Western Wall so special? Find out here: About the Wall
A lovely little video, Eye of the Universe, less than 5 minutes long, evokes much of what Jews feel when they are in Jerusalem
If you are interested in learning more, some of the best regarded books about this period of time include
Six Days of War: June 1967 by Michael Oren, The Arab-Israeli Wars, by Chaim Herzog, and The Arab-Israeli Conflict, Its History in Maps, by Martin Gilbert.