Yom Yerushalayim. Jerusalem Day.
Another fabulous day of celebrations has passed, celebrating 52 years of reunification in Jerusalem, Israel.
Remembering the divided city and nineteen years under Jordanian occupation is more important than ever as anti-Israel groups spread their narratives.
Celebrating Jerusalem 52 signs lined Jerusalem streets.
On Yom Yerushalayim a large morning prayer service was held at the Kotel, Western Wall, and another with music on the Tayelet Promenade, with the Temple Mount in view.
The official memorial ceremony for Ethiopian Jews who perished on their way to Israel is held in the morning at Har Herzl Military Cemetery.
A government minister and a representative of the bereaved families spoke at the event along with President Rivlin near the memorial for those who died during the treacherous journey from Ethiopia to the promised land.
Then there was another Har Herzl official memorial ceremony for the fallen of the Six-Day War and the War of Attrition.
The list of municipality events is too long to mention, and it was certainly impossible to attend them all. There were free tours, including the reopening of the sifting project, plus musical events and parades.
The long-established parade dancing with flags went through the Old City. While a family-friendly parade begun four years ago was held elsewhere.
Roads were closed. Cyclists rode in from Gush Etzion.
To end the day, there was an official ceremony marking the 52nd anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, with the President, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion in attendance, at Ammunition Hill. At the Kotel, the singing and dancing went on until well after dark.
Flags lined major routes, such as Jaffa Road along the light rail line. The trains did not run Yom Yerushalayim in the afternoon as thousands walked this way to Jaffa Gate and the Kotel.
Construction somewhere in Jerusalem is a given, as here on Yoel Salomon Street.
Repairs and painting were slower as this has been the month of Ramadan.
Muslims fast by day and break their fast at sunset meal called Iftar.
President Rivlin hosted an annual Iftar meal in the gardens of Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s residence, for 200 guests, including the Ambassadors of Egypt and Jordan and Muslim leaders.
There is less shopping in Jerusalem by Muslim women during the heat of the day on Ramadan. However, these women were out on Ben Yehudah Street.
Jews were allowed on Temple Mount in the early morning Yom Yerushalayim. Police had to control the Arabs who rioted, screaming and throwing chairs.
However, this past week Sheikh Ashraf Al Jabari from Hebron joined Avi Zimmerman from Ariel at Media Central for a press conference to discuss the Judea-Shomron Chamber of Commerce, economic cooperation and plans to go to Bahrain.
Also this week, US Rep Eliot Engel was at the Israel Democracy Institute to discuss his views on US and Israeli relations.
While across the street, the Jerusalem Theater was being readied for the two-week Israel Festival opening night musical event.
A huge stage was erected in the plaza for bands to play at night.
The Islamic Museum has a new exhibit on jewelry, where old pieces are given a new look by new artisans.
Not just art and design, but the music of Beat/Second filled the Jerusalem streets.
If that is not cultural enough, opera is coming back to Jerusalem.
Nabucco, “the beloved opera with the Hebrew slaves choir” is to be performed in the Sultan’s Pool, on June 20.
President Rivlin opened his Yom Yerushalayim evening remarks:
“My brothers and sisters, lovers of Jerusalem, 52 years ago this city was liberated, 52 years since the hearts of millions of Jews, Israel and the world heard the ‘Temple Mount in our hands’…52 years since we stood on the summit of Mount Scopus, touching a dream, a united Jerusalem.”
After dark, Yom Yerushalayim did not ebb away quietly. Near the Kotel, music, and dancing continued. as tens of thousands of people filled the plaza.
On the walls of the Old City, Facebook comments were projected.
White Night in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, with live loud music continued all night long. People as far away as Baka and Arnona said they were kept awake by the music.
But not to worry, no downtime in Jerusalem!
Another Jerusalem Design Week is coming.
But first, the holiday of Shavuot begins as soon as Shabbat is over.
Again people plan to stay up all night, this time learning Torah.