On the 54th anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification

54 years ago, on the Jewish date of the 28th of Iyar 5727, (June 7, 1967 CE on the Gregorian calendar), Israeli forces smashed through Jordanian barriers illegally dividing the city of Jerusalem in the final days of the Six Day War.  As gunfire exploded in the background Israeli General Mordechai Gur triumphantly proclaimed, "Har Habayit b'yadenu," "The Temple Mount is in our hands!" 

And thus, for the first time in over 2000 years, Jerusalem, the historic capital of the Jewish people (its sole original inhabitants), was finally restored to Jewish control.  Though others, such as Christians, Muslims, Romans, and Turks, conquered the city over the millennia, killing and expelling most of the original and rightful Jewish residents, they all were unable to replace Jewish rights to the land.

Photo credit: बिप्लब आनन्द CC BY-SA 3.0 license

This year, the Hebrew date of this momentous anniversary begins this Sunday night, May 9.  (A new Jewish day begins at sunset.) As Israelis prepare to celebrate Jerusalem Day beginning tonight and continuing through tomorrow, they will certainly take pride in the city's advances since reunification.

When Jordan illegally occupied the eastern half of Jerusalem from 1948 until 1967, Jews were not allowed entry to that area where many of their important religious and historical sites are located.   Jordanians deliberately destroyed or otherwise desecrated many of these important Jewish sites or turned them into Muslim institutions.  They treated many Christian sites with equal contempt.  Now people of all religions can celebrate freely, with access to their important religious sites. 

 

Also, according to the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research as of now:

Jerusalem continues to be the largest city in Israel. At the end of 2020, the capital's population comprised 952,000 residents.

The average age in Jerusalem, 24, was much lower compared to the national average, 30. In Tel Aviv, the average age was 36, in Haifa, 38. (snip)

According to data, Jerusalem is the second-largest economy in Israel, after Tel Aviv. Some 344,300 Jerusalemites are employed, which is 9% of all those employed in the country. The high-tech industry, in particular, has grown exponentially since 2015. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem had the most PhD students in the country. 

Commenting on the findings, Israel's president Reuven Rivlin noted

"Jerusalem's future is also the future of the State of Israel. It is here, in the city that comprises the full range of Israel's demography in all its richness, that we need to find a way to create a dialogue, to connect, to cooperate," he added.

"The year of COVID-19 and recent events demonstrate just how much Israel's capital is a multi-faceted and multi-varied city," JIPS Director-General Lior Schiller said.

"Developments and events in Jerusalem have political significance and make an impact throughout the entire country.  In many respects the developments and trends in the city are a prelude to what will transpire throughout Israel in the coming decades. In this sense Jerusalem is Israel's 'national laboratory."

To paraphrase an ancient Jewish prayer, for Jews everywhere, "Last year, this year, next year in Jerusalem! Rebuilt! Renewed!

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