Since the legitimate and sovereign nation of Israel was restored in 1948, four new holidays have been added to the Jewish national calendar – Yom HaShoah v’ HaGevurah (Holocaust Heroes and Martyrs’ Day), Yom Ha-Zikaron (Memorial Day), Yom Ha-Aatzmaut (Independence Day), and Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day).
Yom Yerushalayim is a holiday celebrating the reunification of the Jewish Holy City of Jerusalem in the hands of its rightful owners, the Jewish people, and May 16th, 2007 will be the 40th Anniversary of the unification of the Jewish Holy City of Jerusalem.
In 1948, no Palestinian state was invaded or destroyed to make way for the establishment of Israel. From biblical times, when this territory was the state of the Jews, to its occupation by the British army at the end of World War I, Palestine never existed as a distinct political entity. Palestine was always part of one empire after another. You can read who really owns Palestine and land acquisition in Palestine for a detailed history of the region.
Yes, I said region. Palestine was never a country. Palestine is a manufactured entity.
Excerpted from Israel HighWay:
For 19 years, from the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 until the Six Day War in 1967, Jerusalem was a city divided by barbed wire and dangerous “no-man’s land” running roughly north to south separating the Jewish people from the Old City of Jerusalem. The Old City, the City of David, was the cornerstone of 2,000 years of Jewish longing for Zion. The long-held dream of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel was finally achieved, but the heart of the land was at once visibly close and miles away.
When Israel was born in 1948, its citizens and armed forces were unable to defend the Old City, and it fell to the Jordanian Legion. Jews were cut off from their holiest sites in Jerusalem, including the Kotel (Western Wall), the City of David just outside the Old City Walls, Mt. Scopus and the ancient Mount of Olives cemetery.
Throughout this time the Jewish character of the Old City was systematically destroyed by the Jordanian government. Thousands of Jewish residents of east Jerusalem and the Old City were driven from their homes. Fifty-eight Jerusalem synagogues, including some that were hundreds of years old, were destroyed or ruined and others were turned into barns for animals or public bathrooms. The entire Jewish Quarter was destroyed, houses were built immediately adjacent to the Kotel and all access to the ancient city was completely denied to Jews. Then suddenly, in the middle of the Six Day War, Israel found itself, unexpectedly, in control of the Old City.
With the news that Israel had taken control of the Old City and east Jerusalem, Israelis from all over the country began flocking to the Kotel to celebrate their young country’s miraculous victory. With Israeli sovereignty in all of Jerusalem, the holy sites of the world’s three great monotheistic faiths were opened to all, as they had never been under centuries of Muslim rule.
Now, 40 years later, many Israelis don’t know an Israel without a united Jerusalem offering free access to the Kotel and the important cultural and historic sites in the Old City.
Once called the “Wailing Wall”, the Western Wall of the Temple Mount is referred to in Hebrew as the “Kotel”, the “Wall.” The Western Wall Plaza has been opened since 1967 to all people as a place of prayer and study.
On the right side of the women’s area of Western Wall Plaza is Barclay’s Gate, named for an American tourist who “found” it in 1848. Here is a picture of Jewish women praying at the Western Wall in 1848 during the reign of the Ottoman Turks.