Thursday evening marks the beginning of Jerusalem Day celebrations, marking the 42nd anniversary of the day the Old City of Jerusalem was liberated, and the entire city reunified, during the 1967 Six Day War.
The date also marks the accompanying defeat of Egypt, Jordan and Syria, which had repeatedly threatened to destroy the Jewish State and "drive the Jews into the sea." Instead, Israel won a miraculous victory, and the Six Day War has become a synonym around the world for "a modern-day miracle."
Events marking the joyous day have already begun – and not only in Jerusalem. In the lower Galilee city of Nazareth Illit, for instance, some 800 youths from the Ariel religious youth movement descended on the city to dance and sing through the streets with Israeli flags – a Rikudgalim event of the type that has taken place in Jerusalem for 40 years. The Nazareth event was part of a campaign that began two years ago to strengthen Jewish cities in which the Arab presence is growing.
See our special Jerusalem Day page, featuring Jerusalem-and-Six Day War history, miracles, Torah, politics and much more.
In Jaffa, as well, another mixed Jewish-Arab city, the local Yeshiva has organized a flag-march through the streets. In the Galilee city of Carmiel, founded only 45 years ago, many Arabs have also begun to move in; a Rikudgalim event will be held at 12:30 on Friday, beginning at the Heart of the City mall.
Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. EDT), in Jerusalem's City of David neighborhood, just below and to the south of the Old City, the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism award ceremony takes place. The winners, who receive $50,000 each, are Noam Arnon of Hevron, Sammy Bar-Lev of Katzrin in the Golan, and Ronit Shuker of Givat Achiya in the Shomron. Click here for the live broadcast from the ceremony.
On Thursday evening at 6 p.m., outside the Kings Hotel, protestors rallied against American pressure on Israel to freeze Yesha construction and agree to a Palestinian state.
At 10 p.m. (3 p.m. EDT), one of the largest Jerusalem Day celebrations will begin: The traditional event at Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav Kook in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood. Among the guests will be Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin and Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon; Ministers Yaakov Ne’eman, Daniel Hershkovitz, and Yaakov Mergi; MKs Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh), Zevulun Orlev, Uri Ariel, and more. Click here for the live broadcast from Merkaz Harav.
On Friday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat will greet the public in honor of the holiday at the Tower of David, near Jaffa Gate. The Rikudgalim march-dance will begin at Sacher Park and end at the Western Wall.