Fifty-eight synagogues, some hundreds of years old, were destroyed, their contents looted and desecrated.
Jewish religious sites were turned into chicken coops or animal stalls.
The Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, where Jews had been burying their dead for over 2500 years, was ransacked; graves were desecrated; thousands of tombstones were smashed and used as building material, paving stones or for latrines in Arab Legion army camps. On top of the cemetery, graves were demolished to make way for the building of the Intercontinental Hotel and surrounding roads.
On May 12, 1968, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel declared the 28th of Iyar a minor religious holiday as a way of thanking G-d for answering the 2000 year old prayer “L’Shana Ha’Baa B’Yerushalayim, Next year in Jerusalem”.
On March 23, 1998, the Knesset passed the Jerusalem Day Law, making the day a national holiday celebrated by parades through the city of thousands of people from around the world. This day holds such importance for the Jewish people that Hallel, the prayer of celebration, is recited.
How can you commemorate this day?
LISTEN:Yerushalayim Shel Zahav
Sing along and learn the lyrics to one of the most beautiful songs about one of the world’s most ancient and holiest of cities.The overpowering emotion evoked by the both the melody and the lyrics speak to the continued longing for Jerusalem in the 19 years between ’48 and ’67 and the generations prior.