Jerusalem Unification Day reached the Negev Wednesday with the traditional “flag dance” held in the city of Arad, located between Be’er Sheva and the Dead Sea.
The Young Leadership Faction of the National Union Party led 1,000 people through the streets of the usually quiet city, introducing the special day to many immigrants from the former Soviet bloc who have swelled its population in recent years.
“We did not succeed in liberating Jerusalem in the War of Independence in 1948 because we were not a united people," Kiryat Arba-Hevron Rabbi Dov Lior told the crowd. “We succeeded in doing so in the Six-Day War in 1967 because then we were one people and one army. Jerusalem gets its strength from the community of Israel, and it is extremely important to connect with Arad on Jerusalem Unification Day.”
Arad recently held municipal elections, and the new acting mayor said that the flag dance “was the best gift the new city council could have received.”
The National Religious influence in Arad has grown in the past decade with the growth of a new “garin,” a seed group of young families who have moved there from all parts of the country. Students from religious high schools in Kiryat Arba, Arad and Dimona and from the local religious high school participated in the street celebration.