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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Jerusalem Day

Tuesday night and Wednesday are Jerusalem Day, the 28th day of the Jewish month of Iyar, the day on which 43 years ago, IDF troops liberated the Old City from the Jordanian occupiers.

For the first 20 years or so, reports the JPost, nearly all Israelis celebrated Jerusalem Day. But since the first 'intifada,' many Israelis have regarded Jerusalem Day as a political holiday, belonging only to 'the Right.' Particularly for people outside of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, the day is largely devoid of significance.
“We don’t call the State of Israel ‘The land of Zion, Jerusalem’ for no reason,” says Likud Jerusalem city councilman Elisha Peleg. “What happens in Jerusalem, that’s what will happen in the State of Israel. If we give up on our right to rule parts of Jerusalem, then tomorrow the Arabs will demand that we not live in Jaffa, that we not live in Haifa, that we not live in Beersheba, in Ramle and in Lod. Therefore, this year especially I would strengthen and increase the events of Jerusalem Day… I would use the situation to emphasize our sovereignty over Jerusalem and the importance of the unification.”

Yisrael Medad, a Temple Mount activist, wholeheartedly agrees.

“Take a look at this year. With all the pressure of the American State Department on Jerusalem, I think that Jerusalem Day should be celebrated in an outrageous fashion,” he says. “It’s probably what Israelis need.”

At the other end of the political spectrum sit Meretz city councilman in Jerusalem Meir Margalit and left-wing Jerusalem resident Oz Merinov.

“It’s obvious that the meaning of Jerusalem Day – similar to the meaning of the state, from the perspective of Zionism, the army, the values – is all changed,” says Margalit. “The holiday has turned into a holiday for settlers. This is a day for the extreme Right. The question is whether the state should continue to fund this holiday.”

“The day is one big show that really shouldn’t even exist,” agrees Merinov, “given the fact that there are two separate cities – one that controls the life of the other, for the worse.”


“I don’t think of it [Jerusalem Day],” says Orit Lazerovich, 35, from Haifa. “Even when I was in high school, it never really felt like a holiday. Maybe we were told to come to class wearing a white shirt, but that’s about it.”

“Jerusalem Day doesn’t really hold any meaning for me,” echoes Sivan Pasternak, 26, from Tel Aviv. “We don’t do anything for it… It’s a day that no one in the country really finds important.”

Tal A., a 30-year-old graduate student at Tel Aviv University, has a different take on the subject. As a Zionist who is ready to fight “and die for Jerusalem,” he, too, admits that in an average year the capital, let alone a day honoring its unification, doesn’t rank high on his priority list.

“You know those people who are not religious but still do the High Holy Days?” he asks. “I think for a lot of people the city of Jerusalem is like a High Holy Day. You go there a couple of times a year, you feel very special about it, and that’s it.”
The key here is education. Unfortunately, with the exception of the two Netanyahu governments, our education system has been controlled by the Left. The result is that people in their 30's - who don't remember what it was like before June 1967 - have been taught to be ashamed of 1967. We need to educate people about our traditional values. Everything else will then fall into place.


At 8:10 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

May 12 (28 Iyar) marks the 43rd anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War.
Want to see how much you really know about Israel's capitol? Log in to the Jerusalem Center's short quiz about Jerusalem and find out: http://www.jcpa.org/quiz/jerusalemquiz.html

At 10:24 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Yep. There's an entire generation of Israelis completely ignorant about Jerusalem and its central place in the history, identity and faith of the Jewish people. As a result of that, Israel is finding itself the paying the price in terms of a shallow attachment to the capital - and Jews devoid of a "soul feeling" for Jerusalem will probably not see Israel around in a few decades. This all has to be changed if Israel is to survive.

At 5:57 PM, Blogger YMedad said...

You like that use of "outrageous"?


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