By: Rabbi Carlos A. Tapiero,
Deputy Director-General
Maccabi World Union,


Thursday, May 26, 2011

‏כ"ב אייר תשע"א

 Yom Yerushalayim Message

YOM YERUSHALAYIM     יום ירושלים

Dear Friends,

  Yom 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[1], 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.

 Once 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:

"I 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.  

On 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.

With deep gratitude to our soldiers, the liberators of Jerusalem,
for giving us the opportunity to be one

with the City of Light, of Peace, of Unity, 

Yom Yerushalayim Sameach!

Chazak ve'ematz! 


Deputy Director-General & Director of Education

Maccabi World Union

[1] In the year 1006 b.c.e.