It’s Jerusalem Day, a time to celebrate. So was it my imagination or
were there a lot of negative headlines and photos in the paper today?
For anyone born after WWII and the establishment of Israel in 1948,
doesn’t that time seem like ancient history?
So maybe those people calling for back to “1967 borders,”
do not have any idea of what that really means?
When Jerusalem was divided in 1948 and under Jordanian rule until 1967:
NO Jews were allowed in The Old City, this was as close as you could get,
and by the way, there was NO place called “Palestine” then.
Now The Old City is open and there is access to the Western Wall Plaza,
just ask the Arab family in photo.
Well, as free access as those small alleyways will allow.
Today there is freedom for all religions.
Especially on Friday, Muslim men come to pray in The Old City.
Only those who threaten, throw rocks, want to stab someone,
or plan to blow themselves and others up are not wanted and kept out.
When the Jordanian Legion captured The Old City in 1948,
they forced out or killed all the Jewish residents.
Then they destroyed ALL the synagogues,
this wall is all that is left today as a reminder of that rampage and destruction.
Some of those destroyed houses of worship were centuries old,
the largest, the Hurva synagogue, has only recently been restored.
Also, after the war in 1948, for those 19 years,
Jordan closed access to the centuries-old Mount of Olives Jewish cemetery.
Jews could not access their family plots and the graves of loved ones,
plus thousands of graves and their stones were desecrated and ruined.
Today it can still be dangerous to travel to the Mt of Olives cemetery,
but at least it is possible with a police security escort.
The Jewish neighborhood of Yemin Moshe was established
outside the walls of the Old City in the mid-19th century and is now
one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the world.
But from 1948-1967, Yemin Moshe – Mishkenot Shananim was abandoned,
as it was in range of Jordanian sniper fire from the Old City walls.
Now an Arab couple can sit on a bench and talk in the parks of Yemin Moshe,
while hundreds of Israeli school children have a picnic nearby.
A deserted “No Man’s Land” and barbed wire divided Jerusalem, to protect
from those Jordanian snipers who would randomly shoot from The Old City.
This old and rundown shanty area has been renovated, and today part of it is
Mamilla Mall, which is busy with thousands of shoppers and tourists,
both day and night, summer and winter.
Sadly school trips, not only to The Old City and Jerusalem,
but in all of Israel must have armed chaperons.
One might joke that those students had better behave themselves.
But no joking matter, especially on Jerusalem Day, is the
significance of the reunification of Jerusalem 46 years ago.
Time for everyone, not just the young and modern religious Jews to celebrate,
and to see some positive images of what is really happening!
Yom Yerushalayim Sameach!
Happy Jerusalem Day to all from Jerusalem, Israel!