Jerusalem Day commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem, Israel's capital, following the division of the city between 1948 and 1967. The Jerusalem Municipality's website states, "For three millennia Jerusalem has been the heart of the Jewish people. Although throughout the years the city was under the rule of many nations, including the Assyrians, Persians and Romans, Jerusalem is the enduring center of Jewish belief and identity. It has only ever been a capital city under Jewish rule. More recently, the Ottoman Turks ruled Jerusalem until December 1917, when it came under the control of the British.
"On November 29, 1947, the United Nations decided that the Land of Israel would be divided into two separate countries - one Jewish and one Arab. Jerusalem would belong to neither, holding special standing under the auspices of the U.N. The British mandate ended on May 15, 1948, at which time 7 Arab states declared war on the newly created Jewish State. The cease-fire ending Israel's War of Independence left Jerusalem a divided city, with Jordan retaining control of the eastern portion encompassing the Old City and the Western Wall and Israel retaining the western side. The resulting border was 7 kilometers long from north to south, dividing neighborhoods and even private property. A concrete wall was erected on the Israeli side against snipers.
"The Six Day War began on June 6, 1967. On June 8 - the 28th of the month of Iyar, according to the Hebrew calendar - Israeli forces broke through Lions' Gate to the Old City. On June 28, the Government of Israel proclaimed the Reunification of Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel." The Chief Rabbinate recognized the 28th of Iyar as a religious holiday of thanksgiving.
The Central Bureau of Statistics announced today that there are 683,000 residents in the capital, representing over 10% of the national population. The average monthly household income is NIS 9,300, more than 2,000 shekels less than the national average. One-third of the population is Arab. The average household has four children - 7 in hareidi families, and 4.5 children in Muslim households. 35% of the capital's residents are children under 15. In 2002, over 18,000 babies were born - 13% of the total number of babies born in Israel.
Jerusalem Day Events (partial selection):
* Guided tours for pupils from all around the country were held all day in Jerusalem today, with a closure ceremony to take place this evening at the Sultan's Pool.
* Representatives of the police, Fire Department, soldiers, and emergency medical employees of hospitals received awards at Council Hall this morning.
* Delegations of Israel's regional councils participated in an exhibition of agriculture products.
* A brand new model of the Light Rail, under construction.
* Singers and dance groups through the main streets of Jerusalem this evening
* Festive council meeting
* Tomorrow, walking tours with the Jewish National Fund, including participation in a musical production. Call 1-800-350-550
* Egged will provide free public transportation in Jerusalem tomorrow afternoon between 4 and 9 PM.
* Memorial Ceremony at Ramat Rachel, by the monument of Ethiopian Jews tomorrow morning
* National memorial ceremony - The Six Day War martyrs, at Mt. Herzl, at 14:00
* Festive reception by the Mayor at Migdal David Museum - 15:00-16:30
* Dance of the Flags' March - A prayer and a festive assembly at the Western Wall, marching from Sacher Park & Independence Garden through Zion Square, along Jaffa St., through the Gates of the Old City, ending up at the Western Wall - between 15:30-22:30
* National Memorial Ceremony at Ammunition Hill - at 18:00
* Opening of the Israel Festival - The Jerusalem Theatre Square - at 19:00
* Prayers and dances at the Kotel - Marching from Yeshivat Merkaz Harav and Beit Orot - 16:00 til the morning
* Guided tours at Beit Harav Institute 02- 6242908
* Arrivals to Jerusalem: 500 Bar Mitzvah boys from Israel and over the world.