The first Yom Yerushalayim was a military victory.
On June 7, 1967 (Iyar 28 on the Hebrew calendar), a Wednesday, Israeli soldiers captured the Old City of Jerusalem, reuniting the capital that had been divided, under Jordanian control since the 1948 War of Independence.
Jerusalem Day was born, observed, by order of the country’s Chief Rabbinate, with prayers of thanks.
This week I was honored to deliver the Cape Town, South Africa, community-wide keynote address for Yom Yerushalayim. Hundreds gathered together in a powerful celebration of the liberation of Jerusalem 45 years ago (28th of Iyar 1967). I was reminded of the power of Jerusalem to unite the Jewish people.
Before there was a Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalyim), there was the day before.
Yehuda Avner, then an aide to Israel’s prime minister, Levi Eshkol, has said, “An Arab sword of Damocles hung over Israel’s neck in June 1967, and so perilous was its blade that foreign capitals spoke chillingly of the country’s imminent slaughter.”