I was just a young kid in the year of 1967. It a year that will be etched forever in Israel’s national memories. What happened in June that year was in the eyes of many, a real miracle performed by G-D. Of course the power, daring and resourcefulness of the Israel Defense Forces stunned the world.
On June 7th, 1967, elite Israeli paratroopers broke into the old city of Jerusalem. Within their midst was a reporter from the Voice of Israel, the national radio station. He was describing the unfolding events as they were happening.
I remember hearing bullet whistles and the sound of automatic weapons as he was running forward with the soldiers breaking into the lions gate which leads into the old city.
What happened in the next hour or so is the experience for which our great great grandparents have prayed for over 2,000 years. We, the people of Israel at the time, were lucky and privileged to witness it.
The reporter, running as fast as he could to avoid being killed, found his way along with many others into the “Kotel”, the wailing wall. As he was running, describing the chaos around him, he suddenly stopped.
A few seconds later his voice started shaking. The entire country with ears glued to the radio (there was no Israeli TV at that time) heard the reporter crying.
As he approached the Kotel he was describing literally through his tears how battle fatigued paratroopers were standing in front of the holy wall, kissing it and crying along with him.
The entire country listening to the broadcast was crying as well. Suddenly, the sound of a shofar pierced the microphone. Rabbi Goren, chief rabbi of the IDF, was blowing it over and over again.
The famous song, “Yerushalayim shel Zahav” Jerusalem of Gold”, which proclaims our deep yearning to return to our beloved old city of Jerusalem was now being sung. Soldiers all around the Kotel were singing it as loudly as they possibly could with their tired, scratchy voices.
And we kept crying. All of us. The entire country was crying.
On May 29th, 2022 the 28th day of Iyyar, it will be 55 years since that once in a two millennia event. But in my heart and in my mind it happened yesterday.
We the Jewish people have always shared Jerusalem with all religions who wish to worship there and have protected their right to do so. For we understand it is a holy city for many.
But for us it is even more than a holy city. Jerusalem IS the Jewish people. It is our city, our soul and will be in our hearts and hands now and forever.
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