Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Forty Years of an Undivided Jerusalem

Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren at the Kotel - 28 Iyar 5727

28 Iyar this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Liberation of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967 - commonly known as Yom Yerushalayim. When the Israeli troops finally captured the Kotel and the Old City of Jerusalem it was the first time in over 1900 years that the Old City was in Jewish hands.

I was pointed to a web site which seems to cover all aspects of the Six Day War called, believe it or not, sixdaywar.co.uk. This site covers the history of the period including the background to the war and also personal reminiscences. The site has a quote from Moshe Dayan, the famous general who was the face of this conflict at the time, regarding the liberation of Yerushalayim:
This morning, the Israel Defense Forces liberated Jerusalem. We have united Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel. We have returned to the holiest of our holy places, never to part from it again.

To our Arab neighbors we extend, also at this hour - and with added emphasis at this hour - our hand in peace. And to our Christian and Muslim fellow citizens, we solemnly promise full religious freedom and rights. We did not come to Jerusalem for the sake of other peoples' holy places, and not to interfere with the adherents of other faiths, but in order to safeguard its entirety, and to live there together with others, in unity.
It seems incongruous that a general - especially at wartime - would talk so strongly about peace with the enemy. It demonstrates Israel's strong desire for a secure and peaceful existence which, history seems to show, will only come about through Moshiach. May he come soon!