Six Day War of 1967 - 3rd Arab Israeli War

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"Every one of the hundred million Arabs has been living ... to see the day Israel is liquidated"

Cairo Radio’s Voice of the Arabs broadcast,
May 18th 1967.

The first pilgrimage of Jews to Jewish-controlled Jerusalem in two thousand years...

On the morning of Shavuot June 15, 1967, just six days after the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem following the Six Day War, the Old City was officially opened to the Israeli public. For the first time in almost two thousand years, masses of Jews could visit the Western Wall and walk through the cherished streets of Judaism's capital city as members of the sovereign Jewish nation. Each Jew who ventured to the Western Wall on that unforgettable day represented the living realization of their ancestors' dreams over the millennia. It was one of those rare, euphoric moments in history.

From the late hours of the night, thousands of Jerusalem residents streamed towards Zion gate, eagerly awaiting entry into the Old City. At 4 a.m., the accumulating crowds were finally allowed to enter the area of the Western Wall. The first Minyan (traditional quorum of ten men) soon began. Over fifteen hundred people shared that special moment. As the sun continued to rise, there was a steady flow of thousands who made their way to the Old City.

In total, two hundred thousand visited the Western Wall that day. It was the first pilgrimage, en masse, of Jews to Jewish-controlled Jerusalem on a Jewish festival in two thousand years, since the pilgrimages for the festivals in Temple times.

The Jerusalem Post described the epic scene:

"Every section of the population was represented. Kibbutz members and soldiers rubbing shoulders with Neturei Karta. Mothers came with children in prams, and old men trudged steeply up Mount Zion, supported by youngsters on either side, to see the wall of the Temple before the end of their days.

"Some wept, but most faces were wreathed in smiles. For thirteen continuous hours a colorful variety of all peoples trudged along in perfect order, stepping patiently when told to do so at each of six successive barriers set up by the police to regulate the flow."

An eyewitness described the moment:

"I've never known so electric an atmosphere before or since. Wherever we stopped, we began to dance. Holding aloft Torah scrolls we swayed and danced and sang at the tops of our voices. So many of the Psalms and songs are about Jerusalem and Zion and the words reached into us a new life. As the sky lightened, we reached the Zion gate. Still singing and dancing, we poured into the narrow alleyways beyond."

On Shavuot[1], three thousand two hundred and seventy nine years earlier, the Israelites stood at Mount Sinai and felt the gravity of the moment as a unique relationship was formed between themselves and their Creator. On the day of Shavuot following Israel's amazing victory of the Six-Day War, multitudes ascended to the Western Wall, as their ancestors had done in the past, and they celebrated the holiday just a short distance from the Temple Mount. They, too, felt the magic of the moment.

 

[1] Shavuot, the Feast of the Weeks, is the Jewish holiday celebrating the harvest season in Israel. Shavuot, which means "weeks", refers to the timing of the festival which is held exactly seven weeks after Passover.

[from IsraelInsider]

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