Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day
celebrates the city's liberation by the Israel Defense Forces during the
6 Day War 44 years ago. Our Millennial City, the capital of Jewish
Civilization since its founding by King David,
capital of the First Jewish Commonwealth destroyed by the Babylonians in
586 b.c.e., and of the Second, destroyed by the Romans in 70 c.e., was
reunified and restored to the sovereignty of the Jewish State.
the Jordanian Army shelled the city, many Israeli leaders – now all of
blessed memory – shared the Unity Government's decision to liberate
Jerusalem: Prime Minister Levi Eshkol; Defense Minister Moshe
Dayan; Minister without Portfolio Menachem Begin; military
commanders: IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin; Uzi Narkiss
of Central Command. Above all, we remember with pride and humility
Colonel Motta Gur and the officers and soldiers of the Reserve
Paratroop brigade, of whom so many died or suffered wounds in the
battles to reunite the City.
Immediately after the war, the late Yitzhak Rabin was awarded an
honorary Ph.D. at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was deeply
moved by the event itself, but even more so, by the overwhelming joy
that Jerusalem’s liberation brought to the Jewish People all over the
world. In his inspiring address to the University and National
Authorities, he said:
stand before you in awe, great teachers, here in this ancient and
majestic place that overlooks our Eternal Capital, and I look out
towards the ancient altars of our people… Let me tell you what is in my
heart: I see myself here as the representative of thousands of
commanders and tens of thousands of soldiers who led this country to
victory during the Six Day War, and as the representative of the entire
IDF. War is essentially a difficult and cruel endeavor of bloodshed and
tears. But in this war that we endured, exceptional courage and bravery
were manifested, brotherhood and friendship emerged, even nobility. They
begin and end with the human spirit. The superiority of our fighters
does not come from steel, rather it comes from a sense of our supreme
mission, recognition of the justice of our cause, the deep love for our
Homeland and the difficult mission they must fulfill – to ensure the
existence of our Nation in its Homeland, to preserve, even at the cost
of their own lives, the right of the Jewish People to live their lives
in our own country – free, independent, in peace and tranquility. "
Extraordinary, powerful words, especially relevant at this time of
incessant attempts to delegitimize our right to our ancient Homeland,
the Land of Israel; Jerusalem is the supreme symbol of that right, of
our millennial yearning to return to Zion and our eternal Capital.
this Yom Yerusahalayim, we celebrate the joy of being able to reconnect
with ourselves as Jews, walking its narrow alleys to rejoice in the
majesty of the Temple Mount, discovering the excitement of being part of
a chain that links us with all our past and future generations of Jews
who, through us,
have returned to Jerusalem, the city we never forsook and left behind,
the City that was and is the center of our prayers.
deep gratitude to our soldiers, the liberators of Jerusalem,
for giving us the opportunity to be one
the City of Light, of Peace, of Unity,
Yom Yerushalayim Sameach!
RABBI CARLOS A.
Director-General & Director of Education