Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem, after the Six-Day War in June 1967. Under Jordanian occupation, from 1948-1967, there were no Jews living in or allowed to visit the Old City.
The story is told of a woman who lost her dentures when they fell from a window of the St. Louis Hospital on the border on May 22, 1956. One of the French nuns retrieved it, requiring the cooperation of both the Israeli and Jordanian forces. “Unfortunately three teeth had melted loose in the Jerusalem sun.”
The hospital is still active and seen here with freshly painted blue trim on its windows. Today, the light rail train tracks run where, for nineteen years, No Man’s Land divided Jerusalem.
This is the view from the hospital roof today. The walls of the Old City look the same, but No Man’s Land is much different today from 1948-1967.
Under Jordanian control, this was as close as a Jewish person could get to the Temple Mount, so the above photo was taken from a lookout at Notre Dame, which is next door to the hospital.
The inviting modern view approaching the Old City with Mamilla Mall on the left, a stark contrast to the days when the area was under threat by Jordanian snipers shooting.
Here’s an interesting view looking toward Mamilla after the wire and barriers that divided the city had been removed, but before the area was developed.
The ancient stones thrown from the Temple Mount remain at the base of the Western Wall as a reminder of the destruction of the Second Temple.
Under the ground near the walls of the Temple Mount archaeologists have carefully continued to work and find layers of history.
A new discovery, an ancient mosaic floor was uncovered and is carefully being preserved.
Yom Yerushalayim is a day to celebrate old and new Yerushalayim.
Going back over previous years on Yom Yerushalayim.
Three years ago President Trump was in Jerusalem, it seems like a lifetime ago.
Remember two years ago the Giro d’Italia cyclists filled the Jerusalem streets?
The Tower of David in past years hosted huge crowds.
This year the Tower of David will reopen for Yom Yerushalayim to more modest numbers of guests and only outside venues will be open.
Tens of thousands young people singing and dancing with hundreds of Israel flags – not this year.
Those huge crowds filling King George Street are a scene from the past.
No marching through the streets of the Old City entering in the Damascus Gate.
The Kotel, Western Wall plaza overflowing with people will have very limited numbers this year for evening prayers on Yom Yerushalayim.
Last year with endless huge events who would have imagined this year?
The usual celebrations in Jerusalem are very limited this year due to COVID-19.
Fewer people are to be on the Jerusalem streets to celebrate.
But this year from around the world more can join and participate.
The Jerusalem Municipality, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the Office for Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, and the Jerusalem Development Authority for the Development of Jerusalem will hold a special festive broadcast on Thursday, 27 Iyar, 5780 (May 21, 2020) from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm in honor of 53 years since the reunification of Jerusalem.
A virtual two hour live broadcast from special sites in Jerusalem, alongside stories of heritage and interviews with those who fought in the Six-Day War of June 1967, will be broadcast on the Facebook Pages and YouTube of the World Zionist Organization and B’nai B’rith International on Thursday, May 21, 2020, between 2 pm and 4 pm Israel time.
There are many other Yom Yerushalayim programs offered online.
From wherever you are in the world, the Jerusalem streets are only a quick click away.
Crowds in the past for major holidays will not be on the Jerusalem streets this year.
Hoping next year we can all be out on the Jerusalem streets together.