1947, when the United Nations approved the plan to partition the
British Mandate of Palestine (Israel) into a Jewish state and an Arab
state, they determined that Jerusalem would be an “international city”
for a period of ten years. The plan was approved by the Jews, and the
day after it came into effect, the new state was attacked by the
surrounding Arab states (as the Arabs had not accepted the partition

At the time of the cease-fire that ended the 1948 War for Independence, Jordan was in control of the Old City and
eastern Jerusalem. Jews lost all access to the Western Wall, the
holiest site of the Jewish faith as it is the last standing structure
from the retaining wall that supported the Holy Temple, and nearly all
of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City was destroyed.

June 5, 1967, the Middle East was once again at war. Although the war
itself lasted six days, the battle for Jerusalem was over in two. On
June 7, 1967 – 28 Iyar 5727 – Jewish troops took the Old City and, for
the first time in almost twenty years, Jewish prayers were recited at
the Western Wall.

Eleven months later, the government of Israel declared a new holiday, Jerusalem Day, Yom Yerushalayim, on
the 28th of the Hebrew month of Iyar. In Israel on this day, there are
state ceremonies and parades, as well as commemorations for the soldiers
who died in the battle for Jerusalem. 
Yom Yerushalayim is
also celebrated in many communities outside of Israel with special
assemblies and programs. Religious observance of this holiday, by means
of the recitation of 
Hallel, varies by community.

Copyright © 2012 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.