Jerusalem Day

´╗┐Jerusalem Day is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in June 1967.

The day is marked by state ceremonies, memorial services for the soldiers who died in the battle for Jerusalem, and many other events and programs. Schoolchildren throughout the country learn about the significance of Jerusalem. The day is also marked in Jewish schools around the world.

The following is taken from the official Knesset website (with minor changes):

Jerusalem was divided during the War of Independence. West Jerusalem was under Israeli control and East Jerusalem and the Old City were under Jordanian control.

In the fall of 1949 the General Assembly of the United Nations began debating how to implement its decision of 29 November 1947 regarding the establishment of Jerusalem as a separate international entity under the auspices of the United Nations. On the eve of the debate, on 5 December 1949, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion announced, in a Knesset session, that Jewish Jerusalem is an organic and inseparable part of the State of Israel. He added that Israel could not even conceive that the United Nations would attempt to tear Jerusalem from the State of Israel, especially considering what Jerusalem went through during Israel's War of Independence.

This announcement made no impression on most of the members of the United Nations and they voted by a large majority to internationalize Jerusalem. On Dec. 13, 1949 Ben Gurion declared that Israel "would not permit the forced disconnection of Jerusalem from Israel". He requested forthwith that the Knesset (operating in Tel Aviv at that time) conduct its sessions in Jerusalem. Consequently, the Knesset renewed its sessions in Jerusalem on Dec. 26, 1949. In the following months most of the government offices were moved to Jerusalem as well.

Nineteen years the city had remained divided between Israel and Jordan and then it reunited as a result of the 6-Day War. The battle of Jerusalem began on the morning of June 5, 1967 when the Jordanians opened fire along the entire cease-fire line. By that afternoon the Jordanians occupied the Governor's Palace.

The Central Command of the Israeli Army, under the command of General Uzi Narkiss, moved the Har'el brigade to the Jerusalem front. This force tore through the enemy positions of Har Adar and Abdul Aziz and conquered Nebi Samuel.

By the morning of June 6 this force reached the Jerusalem-Rammalah road and stormed the Jordanian fortifications in Tel-El-Ful and Giv'at HaMivtar. In addition a paratroop brigade was moved up. Its instructions were to open the way to Mount Scopus and the Rockefeller Museum in order to position themselves to break through to the Old City of Jerusalem on very short notice.

This force cut through the frontline of the town and occupied the Police Academy, Ammunition Hill, Mandelbaum Gate, the American quarter and Wadi Jos. The way to Mount Scopus was now cleared and the northeast section of Jerusalem was liberated.

On June 7th the General Staff issued the order to liberate the Old City. The Central Command activated the paratroop brigade that had conquered the Mount of Olives and the Mount Scopus ridge. These troops broke through to the Old City by way of the Lions' Gate and shortly after 10am hoisted the Israeli flag over the Western Wall (the last surviving remnant of the Second Temple).

Following the 6-Day War victory, on June 27, 1967, the Government presented the Knesset with three law proposals. These proposals determined the effective unification of Jerusalem and sanctioned the application of Israeli law in the entire area of the unified city. The municipal boundaries of the city were altered and its area was increased threefold: from 38,100 dunams to 110,000 dunams. At the same time a law was adopted that enabled free access to the holy places by the members of every religion. In 1980, the Basic Law: Jerusalem was adopted. This law determined that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel and the location of all state authorities.

On May 12 1968 the Government, decided to make the 28th of the Hebrew month of Iyar the symbolic holiday, Jerusalem Day, a day that symbolizes the continued historical connection of the Jewish People to Jerusalem. Thirty years later, this holiday became anchored in the law: On March 23 1998 the Knesset passed the second and third readings of the "Jerusalem Day Law", which determined that the date that Jerusalem was liberated during the 6-Day War was now a national holiday.

After the 6-Day War the city and its environs underwent an intensive and unprecedented process of restoration and development. Institutions were built, entire new neighborhoods were established and an extensive system of roads and transportation infrastructure was constructed.

Ten new neighborhoods were built on 21,000 dunams. This development enabled a significant increase in Jerusalem's population and the absorption of considerable numbers of new immigrants.

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Jerusalem today is the largest city in Israel, with a population, at the end of 2012, of about 815,300 (10% of Israel's population). Jews are 63% of the residents and Arabs 35%.

The stamp was issued in 2007 to mark 40 years to the reunification of Jerusalem. Design: Aaron Shvo.