Yom Yerushalayim/Jerusalem Day
In 1947, when the United Nations approved the plan to partition the British Mandate of 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 plan).
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 wall mount that supported the Holy Temple, and nearly all of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City was destroyed.
On 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.