Celebrate 54 Years of the Reunification of Jerusalem!

Tricia Miller, Ph.D. and Dexter Van Zile

Dear Christian Leader,

Israel is celebrating this week because Monday, May 10th, is Jerusalem  Day, or Yom Yerushalayim in Hebrew. This year marks the 54th anniversary  of the reunification of Jerusalem after Israeli forces gained control  of the Temple Mount and eastern parts of the city during the Six Day War  of 1967. Israeli authority over a unified Jerusalem brought an end to  19 years of a divided city in the aftermath of Israel's War of  Independence in 1948.

In  the summer of 1967, the Jewish State was, once again, forced to defend  itself against a combined offensive by the armies of Egypt, Jordan,  Syria, and Lebanon -  launched in another attempt to wipe Israel off the  map. In the course of the war, the Israeli, or western, part of  Jerusalem came under fire from Jordan, who had occupied eastern parts of  the city since 1948. During the battle for Jerusalem, Israeli forces  had the unexpected opportunity to liberate parts of the city controlled  by Jordan, including the Temple Mount. As a result, Israel's capital was  unified under Israeli authority. According to the biblical calendar,  the reunification of Jerusalem occurred on the 28th day of the month of  Iyar. In 1967, this date corresponded to June 7th on the Gregorian  calendar, and this year it is May 10th. 

The Six Day War was preceded by years of attacks on Israeli civilians by  Arabs, inflammatory rhetoric on the part of Arab leaders, and the  mobilization of Arab forces on Israel's borders.

In  1965, Arab terrorists conducted 35 violent attacks against Israel. In  1966, the number increased to 41, and in the first four months of 1967,  37 attacks were launched. During the same time period, Syria routinely  used the Golan Heights to launch missiles on Israeli farms in the valley  below.  

While these assaults on Israeli civilians were being carried out,  Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser made regular speeches threatening  outright war against Israel. On May 27, 1967, he said, "Our basic  objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to  fight." The next day he added, "We will not accept any...coexistence  with Israel...Today the issue is not the establishment of peace between  the Arab states and Israel....The war with Israel is in effect since  1948." 

Indeed, Arab forces were mobilized on Israel's borders in the spring of  1967. By May 15th, Egyptian troops had moved into the Sinai and were  massed near the Israeli border in the south. And by May 18th, Syrian  troops were prepared for battle along the Golan Heights to the east. 

On May 30th, King Hussein of Jordan signed a defense pact with Egypt.  Immediately following the agreement, Egypt's Nasser announced, "The  armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are poised on the borders of  Israel...to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies  of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole Arab nation. This act will  astound the world. Today they will know that the Arabs are arranged for  battle, the critical hour has arrived. We have reached the stage of  serious action and not declarations."

As Nasser said, the four nations surrounding Israel were backed up by  the rest of the Arab nations in their intent to destroy the Jewish  State. President Abdur Rahman Aref of Iraq declared, "The existence of  Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to  wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is  clear -- to wipe Israel off the map." Iraq backed up these words with  action by joining the military alliance with Egypt, Jordan and Syria on  June 4th.

By the time the war began on June 5th, the Jewish State faced combined  forces of over 465,000 troops, over 2,800 tanks, and 800 aircraft. In  response to the very real threat of annihilation due to the sheer  numbers arrayed against them, Israel exercised its only potential  advantage and initiated surprise, preemptive actions.

On June 5th, Israeli forces launched an early-morning attack against the  Egyptian air force and by the end of the day, had completely  neutralized the Egyptian and Jordanian air forces, and destroyed half of  Syria's planes. Before the war was over, Israel had gained control over  Gaza and the Sinai (which had been occupied by Egypt), Judea, Samaria,  and the eastern part of Jerusalem (which had been occupied by Jordan)  and the Golan Heights (which had been used by Syria to fire on Israeli  fishermen on the Sea of Galilee and Israeli farmers in the Hula Valley  below). 

When its war of self-defense began, Israel had no intention of fighting  Jordan over the Temple Mount. However, when western Jerusalem came under  Jordanian fire, Israel needed to defend the city. In the course of the  battle, Israeli forces suddenly had the opportunity to take control of  the Old City, including the Temple Mount. They were successful, and as a  result, Israel's capital was unified. This victory marked the end of 19  years of Jerusalem being divided after Israel's War of Independence - a  war that was also initiated by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq  for the purpose of destroying the newborn Jewish state.

The reunification of the city of Jerusalem on June 7, 1967 is cause for  great rejoicing for Israelis and for all those who care about Israel and  the Jewish people. As the holiday is celebrated this week in Israel,  may all those who support Israel celebrate as well!


In Case You Missed It!

Last  Thursday, the Partnership was privileged to host a webinar featuring  Rev. Malcolm Hedding, who spoke on the subject of Israel and apartheid.  As a former South African pastor who actively opposed apartheid, and as  someone who has lived and worked in the Jewish State for many years,  there is no one more qualified to expose the truth concerning Israel and  apartheid.

If you missed the webinar, or would like to listen again or share it with others, the recording is available here.

Thank  you for your continued involvement in the Christian Leadership Network  of CAMERA's Partnership and for your commitment to stand in solidarity  with the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

With your help and 
support, we will continue to expand our efforts to:

  • Tell the truth about Israel

  • Oppose antisemitism

  • Combat anti-Zionism in the Church

  • Raise awareness about Christian persecution in the Middle East

  • Promote cooperation between Christians and Jews

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In order to equip us for this work, would you please consider giving a generous donation to the work of CAMERA's Partnership of Christians and Jews?

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