In the Gates of Jerusalem
For 2,000 years, the Jewish people longed for Jerusalem. From the moment that David established it as the capital of his kingdom, and his son Solomon built there the House of God, Jerusalem has captured Jewish imagination.
When Jerusalem was destroyed, we promised never to forget it, and "Leshana Haba’a Be-Yerushalayim," "Next year in Jerusalem" became a Jewish creedal pronouncement – a prayer for messianic redemption.
And then, in six days in June 1967, 2,000 years of longing came to an end. On the morning of June 7, the third day of the war, the commander of the paratroopers’ Brigade 55, Motta Gur, stunned the Jewish world with his pronouncement: “The Temple Mount is in our hands.” The words electrified all of Israel and indeed the Jewish people worldwide. Solemnity accompanied the joy and celebration, as everyone understood that at that moment, Israel had changed.
We were sovereign, once again, over all of Jerusalem. Not merely Jerusalem, the capital of modern Israel, but Old Jerusalem, the place which God designated as God’s home, the place of ancestral pilgrimage, the focus of our prayers, and the repository of our spiritual aspirations.
The reunification of Jerusalem, whose 50th anniversary was recently commemorated, fulfilled the dream of millennia. Yet that dream has contained within it multiple meanings, opportunities, challenges and responsibilities.
During these High Holidays, our season of introspection, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, in partnership with the Shalom Hartman Institute, invite you on a journey of reflection to explore some of the diverse meanings of Jerusalem and their implications for contemporary Jewish life and modern Israel.