Sunday, May 13, 2018

Jerusalem Day 2018

(Last update: May 14, 2018)

Today is Sunday May 13, 2018. On the Jewish calendar, May 13, 2018 is the 28th day of the Jewish month called, Iyyar. It is a day we in Israel call, Yom Yerushalem--Jerusalem Day.

Because of differences between the Jewish and the  Gregorian calendar (which the Christian world follows), the 28th day of Iyyar, 1967, occurred on June 7th of that year. 
June 7,1967 (Iyyar 28) was the day during Israel's Six Day War when Israeli paratroopers entered the 'Old City' of Jerusalem and captured it from Jordan.

Jordan had seized the Old City during Israel's War of Independence in 1948. At that time (1948), beginning almost immediately after capturing the Old City, Jordan made some changes. It destroyed the Jewish Quarter of the Old City (here). It committed ethnic cleansing by driving out all Jews from the Jewish Quarter of that Old City (ibid). It set about destroying 58 synagogues, some hundreds of years old (ibid). It turned Jewish religious sites into chicken coops and animal stalls (ibid). 

Then, Jordanians ransacked the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, which lay just outside the walls of the 'Old City'. Jews had been burying their dead on the Mount of Olives for  close to 2,500 years (ibid). But Jordan didn't care to respect this cemetery. It was, after all, a Jewish cemetery. So Jordanians took thousands of Jewish tombstones from the cemetery and used them for paving highways and for latrines (ibid). 

I9 years later, in May, 1967, Arab nations surrounding Israel decided to war once again against the Jewish Israel. The anti-Israel rhetoric Israelis heard on their radios that month was horrifying: the Jews were to be driven into the sea. The Jews were to be exterminated. There would be no survivors (see below). 

For almost an entire month, Arab Rage filled the air in every Jewish home that had a radio. Every Jew heard that rage. Every Jew heard the hate. 

Worse, every Jew also heard that no nation would stand to help Israel. Arab hate echoed everywhere, unchallenged.

What were Israel's Jews to think? They were, quite literally, surrounded. The Arabs around them made it perfectly clear: Jewish blood would soak the earth until every Jew was gone.  

Here is a short video. Its title is Drumbeats of war (Survival of a Nation). It was first published on youtube May 3, 2017.  It explains how terrified the Jews of Israel were as war approached. It explains how terrifying the Arab rage was. It puts the staggering miracles that occurred at that time into perspective.

Today in Israel we celebrate how miraculous was that 1967 victory. We celebrate the Divine Hand that guided our soldiers as they moved house-to-house, corner-to-corner in the Old City. 

Today, we dance in the streets. We parade through the Old City draped in Israeli flags.

Thousands upon thousands gather at the Western Wall. They sing the Hallel (an extended prayer-song of praise to HaShem). They dance yet again. 

On this day of celebration, we remember the mind-boggling miracles that saved us. 

We rejoice over how Jerusalem's Temple Mount was returned to Jewish hands once again. We rejoice that we buried so few Jews. We rejoice with hearts filled with thanks to HaShem--because only He stood with us.

This is how we in Israel treat Jerusalem Day. We dance. We sing. We thank HaShem for saving us. 

Jews in exile, however, too often don't treat Jerusalem Day this same way. Too many Jews in exile ignore Jerusalem Day. They ignore the miracles HaShem did for us during that War. 

They do not rejoice. They refuse to sing Hallel--a public song of thanks and praise. They act as if HaShem had done nothing for His people on this day.

Perhaps this short film you've seen above will prove to be instructive. Perhaps it will reveal to some of our Jews still in exile that such a rejection of so many miracles may be less than appropriate. Perhaps this short film might also suggest that the Jews of exile could be quite wrong to dismiss the Heavenly miracles so many in Israel saw during that Six Day War. 

We should remember that the call to annihilate Israel has not passed. The call to exterminate Jews has not passed. 

The need for HaShem's protection has not passed. The need to show gratitude to HaShem when He does protect us has not passed. 

What message do we want to send to HaShem our Protector on Jerusalem Day--that we rejoice when He saves us, or that we really don't much care when He saves us?

Think about that.

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