On Israel's Independence Day, 45 years ago, in 1967, the annual festivities were taking place at the Merkaz HaRav Kook flagship religious Zionist yeshiva in Jerusalem, when the venerable Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook zts"l, rose to speak and broke into an anguished cry -
"Where is our Hevron? Where is our Jericho? Where is our Shechem? Where is every bit of Eretz Yisrael? How is it that we accept that the verse that says 'and they divided my land' has come to pass?"
He told the awestruck students "I could not be truly happy [seeing the lack of these holy sites in the partition borders] on the first Independence Day [in 1948]".
The next day, Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran.
The students had reason to recall his words with awe, when three weeks later, his prayers were answered and Jerusalem, Hevron, Shechem and Jericho returned to Jewish hands.
In continuation of this love for Jerusalem and every inch of the Holy Land, approximately a thousand religious Zionist rabbis, including old and young rabbis, community leaders, educators and rabbis in uniform, met on Thursday at the Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem for a first of its kind Jerusalem Day conference.
Speakers included chief rabbis of cities and heads of yeshivas and Torah institutes, such as Rav Sheer Yashuv Cohen of Haifa, Rav Yaakov Ariel of Ramat Gan, Rav Nachum Rabinowitz of Maaleh Adumim, Rav Zalman Baruch Melamed of Beit El, Rav Chaim Drukman of Ohr Etzion representing hesder yeshivas, Rav Yaakov Shapiro of Merkaz Harav, Rav Shmuel Eliyahu of Tsfat, Rav Yisrael Rosen of the Tsomet Halakhic Institute. Rabbi Aharon LIchtenstein of Har Etzion spoke by video.
The rabbinical conference, which was held in honor of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Reunification) Day, reunited 45 years ago in the Six Day War, dealt with the unity of Jerusalem and with unity in general.