Photo by Ellie Rudee
Jerusalem Day is a national holiday marking the liberation of the city and its reunification after the Six Day War. The day is held on the 28th of Iyar (usually from mid-May to the end of the month,) the day Israeli soldiers liberated the eastern part of the city in 1967.
Jerusalem was divided from the War of Independence in 1948 until 1967. The western part of the city was in Israeli hands, and the eastern part – excluding an Israeli enclave on Mount Scopus – was under the control of the Jordanian kingdom. After the eastern part of the city was liberated, the walls dividing the city were torn down and three weeks later the Knesset enacted legislation unifying the city and extending Israeli sovereignty over the eastern part.
The day marking this event was decided upon one year later to celebrate the unification of the city and the Jewish peoples’ connection with Jerusalem throughout the ages.
Ceremonies – The central ceremony is held on Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, one of the sites of the harshest fighting in the battle over the city. On this day, immigrants from Ethiopia hold ceremonies to commemorate those Ethiopian Jews who died on their way to Israel.
Flag Dance – Many member of the religious Zionist community come to Jerusalem on this day and hold the flag dance procession which leaves the Sacher Park near the Knesset to the Kotel (the Western Wall.)