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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem Day’

With Scattered Arab Protests, 30,000 Israelis March Through Jerusalem

Monday, May 21st, 2012

At least 30,000 people participated in the Jerusalem Day parade known as the Dance of the Flags, interrupted by some clashes between marchers and Arab protesters.

The route went in part through eastern Jerusalem before entering the old city of Jerusalem through the Damascus and Jaffa gates and ending at the Western Wall, where participants sang and danced.

Hundreds of police and security personnel were deployed throughout the city for Sunday’s festivities.

Police were on hand to arrest Jewish marchers for anti-Muslim chants and Palestinians for throwing objects at the marchers.

At the state ceremony marking Jerusalem Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged never to divide Jerusalem.

“Israel without Jerusalem is like a body with a weak heart. Never again will our heart be divided,” he said. “A nation willing to sacrifice its heart would convince its enemies it has no desire to fight for anything. Jewish history has changed forever. The divided city has been united and will stay that way.”

Events were planned all day throughout Jerusalem to mark the 45th anniversary of the city’s reunification.

Israeli lawmakers Michael Ben Ari and Uri Ariel of the right-wing National Union Party led a group of 20 on a tour of the Temple Mount Sunday morning. Ben-Ari and several others reportedly attempted to pray at the site and were stopped by police. The tour’s leader was arrested during a confrontation with police over the prayers.

Palestinian religious leaders in Jerusalem called on followers to confront Jews celebrating Jerusalem Day in the capital and warned that the Jews would try to storm the Temple Mount and attack Muslims.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Cabinet on Sunday approved a series of plans to strengthen the city of Jerusalem and advance its economic, tourist and social development. The Cabinet held its regular weekly on Ammunition Hill, a former military post in eastern Jerusalem and the site of one of the 1967 Six-Day War’s fiercest battles.

JTA content was used in this article.

Jerusalem Day Parade

Monday, May 21st, 2012

30,000 boy and girls from schools around the country participated in the Jerusalem Day Dance and Flag Parade on Sunday, May 20, 2012.

The parade began with dancing in front of the Great Synagogue, followed by a march to the Old City, walking through the gates of Jerusalem, and finally, culminating at the Kotel.

The parade celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967.

Photo Credits: Stephen Leavitt, Flash90: Noam Moskowitz,  Miriam Alster

Terrorist Stabbed by Own Knife As Cyclists Pass By from Hebron to Jerusalem

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

The Tatzpit news agency reported that hundreds of cyclists participated on Sunday morning in the ninth annual bicycle ride from Hebron to Jerusalem, that ran against a gruesome incident a few miles into the trek.

The ride, which follows in the path of the late Isaac Boanis, was secured by an extra IDF checkpoint along its route, at the Gush Etzion junction.

As the cyclists reached the checkpoint, a 14-year-old Arab emerged from a nearby nursery and tried to stab an IDF lieutenant from the Kfir Brigade.

14-year-old Arab terrorist.The officer overcame his attacker and during the struggle the latter was stabbed in the abdomen by his own knife.

There were no other casualties. The terrorist was transported to Ein Kerem Hospital in serious condition.

Back on Friday night, November 15, 2002, near the worshipers’ alley in Hebron, leading from the neighborhood of Kiryat Arba to the cave of the Patriarchs, three Islamic Jihad terrorists positioned themselves at either end of the alley and started shooting at an IDF patrol. Eventually all three Arabs were killed, along with five Border Guards, four IDF soldiers, and three members of the Kiryat Arba emergency squad, under the command of Boanis.

The annual trip was initiated by the youth of Kiryat Arba, in honor of Jerusalem Day and in memory of the fallen heroes of that battle.

A Russian Refusenik Remembers Jerusalem

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

As one of the “youngest” holidays in Jewish tradition, Jerusalem Day holds a special place in the Jewish calendar today.  It marks the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War of 1967, the first time that the entire city had come under Jewish sovereignty in thousands of years.  Even before King David conquered and built his monarchy in Jerusalem over 3,000 years ago in 1000 BCE, the city has always been the most holy city in Jewish tradition.  There was never, however, an official Jewish holiday that honored the city until after June 1967.

When Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, the tragic event spurred thousands of years of mourning for the sacred capital.  The remembrance of the destruction of Jerusalem and hope for its rebuilding manifested itself in Jewish holidays, prayers and even on the happiest of occasions—weddings –with the groom’s breaking of the glass cup. Jews would turn and pray in the direction of Jerusalem three times a day. There were even efforts throughout history where Jewish people attempted to restore political sovereignty over the city and re-establish it as the national capital.

For Yuli Edelstein, the Minister of Diaspora and Public Affairs, who as a Russian refusnik was sentenced three years in a Soviet Labor camp, Jerusalem Day holds deep significance. Tazpit News Agency interviewed the minister in light of Jerusalem Day which falls on Sunday, May 20 (Iyar 28) this year. “I was very young when the Six Day War happened and I remember everyone around me being terribly scared,” Edelstein told Tazpit News Agency. “According to reports on Soviet radio, Israel was disappearing.”

“A close friend of the family came by to tell us that the Soviet radio reports were lies. “”I just heard that the Arab armies destroyed Israel not once, but twice!” he told my parents.”

Edelstein grew up under the repressive and restrictive policies of the Soviet Union era, which muted Jewish traditional and cultural life for decades. State-sponsored anti-Semitism also prevented Jews from working in certain government sectors and advancing in their work.

Edelstein explained that his family felt a great sense of hope now that Jerusalem had come under Israel’s hands. “We felt great relief when we heard later that Jerusalem was actually in the hands of Israel and not in the hands of the Arab armies from Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. The Jews in Russia and the Ukraine were astonished that little Israel could win the war.”

“The reunification of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount in Israel’s hands, and the outcome of the Six Day War, changed the standing of Israel in the eyes of Jews across the world, but especially for the Jews in the former Soviet Union,” said Edelstein.

“For at least two million Soviet Jews, a reunited Jerusalem brought a feeling that there is a homeland and that they must start fighting for the existence of Israel. There was a whole change of attitude—one from relief to pride.”

Edelstein himself was born in Czernowitz in what is now the former Soviet Union. In 1979, he applied for an exit visa to Israel but was refused as Soviet policy rarely allowed its residents to emigrate and so Edelstein became a dissident.  As a Russian refusenik, Edelstein was actively involved in Zionist circles in Moscow and taught Hebrew secretly.  He was arrested by the KGB in 1984 on false charges of drug possession and was sentenced to three years in a grueling Soviet labor camp. He was released in 1987 and was finally allowed to immigrate to Israel with his family.

“For me, Jerusalem is more than just a capital to be proud of.  As the former Minister of Immigrant Absorption, I can say that for Jews who immigrated to Israel–from as far as Ethiopia– making aliya to Israel always meant returning to Jerusalem, to Zion.”

Israel’s Left Calling for Abolition of Jerusalem Day

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Gush Shalom Spokesperson Adam Keller on Saturday night called  to remove Jerusalem Day from Israel’s calendar of national holidays.

On the 28th of the Month of Iyar, which in 1967 fell on June 7, the old city of Jerusalem was liberated from its Arab occupiers by the IDF. The day has been celebrated since, following a May 12, 1968 government proclamation.

But according to Keller, Jerusalem Day is “a holiday only to settlers and racists, who get a license to provoke and harass Palestinians . . The real ‘Jerusalem Day’ [will come] when Jerusalem becomes the capital of two states living in peace.”

Keller published his announcement on “Media With Conscience,” a website which strives to achieve “world peace, social justice and a high awareness by humankind of the present and future dangers to its survival.”

Keller continues further in his statement: “‘Jerusalem Day’ is not a holiday to Israel’s citizens or to residents of Jerusalem. It is a holiday only for the young settlers, who are given by the Jerusalem Police a free hand to hold a provocative ‘Flag Dance’ throughout East Jerusalem – even though in previous years this ‘dance’ developed into an ongoing chain of racist harassment and violence against Palestinian inhabitants.”

The traditional Dance of flags is part of the parade of Jerusalem Day, in which tens of thousands of Israelis march from the western part of the capital through the Muslim Quarter, ending in front of the Wailing Wall. That part of Jerusalem Day, the parade, has received the greatest amount of criticism on the Left.

The original parade and the first dances with flags took place in 1968, when students at the Merkaz HaRav yeshiva, led by Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, marched up Yaffo Street, concluding with singing and dancing well into the night, at the kotel.

Carrying Israeli flags has become a distinct feature of the Jerusalem Day parade, as myriad marchers establish with their feet and their flags the Jewish sovereignty over the city.

According to Haaretz, a group of 21 leftist organizations calling themselves Forum Tag Meir, requested the Jerusalem municipality as well as the police to bar the parade from Arab neighborhoods, for fear of violent clashes between marchers and angry Arabs.

The police actually suggested, initially, that this year’s parade only move through the western part of town. But National Religious representatives accused the police of re-dividing the city with the restriction of the very parade that celebrates its unification.

“With this move the police is taking up a dangerous position regarding the division of Jerusalem,” NRP’s Deputy Mayor David Harari wrote Homeland Security Minister Yitzhak Ahronowitch, according to Haaretz.

Harari complained that with its plan, the police would be “educating our youth that the place of the Jews is in the western part of the city and not in its eastern part.”

Only this past week did the police change its position and agreed to the traditional path of the parade, through the Shchem Gate and the Muslim Quarter.

Incidentally, Adam Keller, the staunch enemy of Jerusalem Day, has been carrying the torch against the reunification of the land under Jewish rule for decades, and on occasion paid a personal price for his views. He has sat in prison more than once for refusing to serve in the territories liberated in 1967.

Unique among his comrades, Keller’s actions in the past have been imaginative and even ambitious.  In 1988 he was sentenced to three months in jail for defacing 117 tanks and other military vehicles with graffiti that read: “Soldiers of the IDF, refuse to be occupiers and oppressors, refuse to serve in the occupied territories!” He also pasted hundreds of “Down with the occupation!” stickers throughout the camp where he was doing his reserves duty.

Truth be told, writing press releases is a bit of a step backwards for the imaginative Keller.

The Forecast For Jerusalem

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

     The Israeli government and the Jerusalem municipality cancelled the ceremonies last Wednesday marking the fortieth anniversary of the unification of the city in the Six-Day War. A sudden thunderstorm hit the city in the late morning and early afternoon. With several of the capital city’s neighborhoods paralyzed under the torrents of rain and hail, the government and Jerusalem’s city hall chose to cancel the celebrations rather than risk having the participants washed away.


      The late spring rainstorm was nearly unprecedented in the city’s meteorological history. And, given its rarity, the symbolism was impossible to miss. The Olmert government, like the Sharon government before it, has made little effort to hide the reality that maintaining Israeli sovereignty over the entirety of the eternal capital of the Jewish people is not a priority.


      Indeed, under the Sharon and Olmert governments the city has been effectively partitioned by the security fence that has cut off several outlying Arab neighborhoods from the rest of the city. Last year, Olmert told European leaders outright, “Not all the Arab neighborhoods will be part of the city in the future.”


      The government claims its decision to cut off Tzur Baher, Jebl Mukaber, Isawiya and Abu Dis from the capital is based on demographic considerations. It argues that placing these Arab neighborhoods outside the city’s boundaries will strengthen the city’s two-thirds Jewish majority in the long term.


      The government’s determination to divide the capital city is based on faulty population data published by the Palestinian Authority and expanded on by the Israeli demographic establishment, which is dominated by Hebrew University Prof. Sergio Della Pergolla.


      In advance of this year’s Jerusalem Day, Della Pergolla and the EU-funded Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies with which he is affiliated published two demographic surveys which claimed that unless Israel splits the capital and transfers the Arab areas of the city to the Palestinian Authority, by 2020 the Jewish majority in the city will have dwindled to 60 percent and by 2035 Jews will become a minority in the city.


      The findings published by Della Pergolla and the JIIS were analyzed by the independent American Israel Demographic Research Group. Led by American economist Bennett Zimmerman and Ambassador Yoram Ettinger, AIRDG found that the studies were based on a deterministic interpretation of Jewish emigration and Arab immigration rates to the city.


      AIRDG began its analysis by noting that following a multi-year trend of increasing Jewish fertility rates and decreasing Arab fertility rates in the city, in 2005 the Arab and Jewish birthrates in Jerusalem converged. Arab and Jewish women in the capital city both have an average of 3.9 children.


      If current trends continue, over time, the Jewish fertility rate can be expected to outstrip the Arab fertility rate in the city. This is also the case in the greater Jerusalem metropolitan areas that are experiencing the same multi-year fertility trends.


      The AIRDG report, which was released on Jerusalem Day, made clear that in light of the fertility parity the issue of Jerusalem’s demographic trends is now limited to an assessment of the durability of the current inverse Jewish and Arab migration rates. Lack of land for development in the city has caused a housing scarcity and an economic crunch. This state of affairs is causing Jews to leave the city. In 2005, some 6,300 Jews, or 1.4 percent of the Jewish population of the city, migrated out. Notably, the Jews who leave Jerusalem do not leave the metropolitan area but rather settle in the city’s western and eastern suburbs.


      At the same time, Arab immigration to the city has resulted in a small increase in the capital’s Arab population. There are two central causes for increased Arab immigration into the city. First, Arab residents of the city receive child welfare allowances and unemployment insurance payments from Israel’s National Insurance. Second, the construction of the security fence has induced thousands of Arabs, who do not wish to live under the Palestinian Authority, to relocate to the city.


      On the first issue, it should be noted that the level of welfare paid to Jerusalem residents and to Israeli citizens as a whole is a question of government policy preferences. As a direct consequence of the welfare reforms instituted by Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu during his tenure as finance minister, which among other things decreased per child allowances, Arab fertility rates dropped in Jerusalem and countrywide.


      The availability of land for municipal development, and the issue of Jewish emigration, which the current scarcity of land has caused, is also a question of government policy preferences. As the AIRDG report notes, the security fence aggravates land scarcity by placing vast tracts of Jerusalem’s land reserves outside the city’s truncated boundaries. Far from encouraging Jews to migrate to Jerusalem, the security fence that divides the city encourages Jewish emigration by raising real estate prices still further.


      By removing Arab neighborhoods from the city’s boundaries, the security fence was supposed to decrease the number of Arabs in the city. Yet the opposite has occurred. As the AIRDG report points out, since 1967, 35,000-40,000 Arabs had left Jerusalem for adjacent neighborhoods in Judea and Samaria. The erection of the security fence reversed this trend.


      Since construction began, 30,000 of these former Jerusalemites have moved back to the city. Another 13,000 Arabs who live in neighborhoods that the security fence placed outside the city have relocated into Jewish and Arab neighborhoods inside the fence.


      So – perversely – the demographic argument used to justify the city’s partition is actually causing the Arab population to increase dramatically inside of the portions of the city that Olmert and his government colleagues wish to retain under Israeli sovereignty. Moreover, the government and the leftist demographic establishment’s determination to maintain the city’s Jewish majority by partitioning the city is limiting space for metropolitan expansion, raising real estate prices within the city’s boundaries and encouraging Jews to leave.


      AIRDG notes that Jews comprise a 72 percent majority of Jerusalem’s greater metropolitan region located within the security fence. Within the entirety of Jerusalem’s metropolitan corridor – which includes areas to the east, north and south as well as west of the city – Jews make up a solid 66 percent majority. Were the entire metropolitan area brought within the city’s boundaries, the current migratory patterns would be reversed.


      Arabs, no longer in fear of being transferred to PA rule, will stop inundating the city. With the land scarcity problem solved by the wide expansion of the city’s boundaries, real estate prices would drop and Jews would return to the city in appreciable numbers.


      The rainstorm on Jerusalem Day could not have been prevented. But what the AIRDG report shows conclusively is that whether the long-range forecast for the eternal capital of the Jewish people is dark or sunny is far from preordained. The future of Jerusalem is in the hands of the Israeli government and of the Jewish people as a whole.


      Caroline Glick is deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post. Her Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the last week of each month.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/the-forecast-for-jerusalem/2007/05/22/

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