By Larry Gordon –
Next week we will celebrate Jerusalem Unification Day. That takes place on the 28th of Iyar represented in Hebrew by the letters kof and ches which creates the word—koach—or strength. That is the power of the day and the G-d given strength that it took for Israeli forces to miraculously and magically recapture and unify that ancient holy city.
For us in this modern day of 2014 there is our inside Jerusalem and then the Jerusalem that a good deal of the world would like to have their way with or what I like to refer to as the outside Jerusalem. The capture of the liberation of Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation from 1948 until the Six Day War in 1967 will always be considered a watershed moment ion the modern history of Israel and indeed Jewish communities around the world.
Who could have fathomed even back then, just a mere two decades after the devastations of the Holocaust that Jews under constant threat in the fledgling land of Israel would be able to fight back in such a fashion and virtually have ancient Jerusalem fall onto our communal laps.
As an elementary school student it was an exhilarating moment. It was the first time—that is during the Six Day War—that our Rebbe in Yeshiva allowed us to bring radios to class and have them tuned to news stations so that we could listen to the latest updates on the war. I remember some of my classmates sneaking in radios from time to time in order to surreptitiously listen to New York Mets games. Some of them are still hopeless fans of the same hapless Mets. But, some of us thought at the time, if those Mets can do it then certainly the tiny but rambunctious state of Israel can do it too.
On the wall of my office here I have three large posters that I purchased years ago in a basement on King George Street that sells copies of these historical photo. One is that famous one of the three young paratroopers staring up at the Western Wall shortly after Israel declared that after a 19 year absence the Kotel was once again ours.
The second photo is of the then Ashkenzic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, standing at the wall and for the first time blowing a shofar in celebration of the great event of that day.
And the third photo is of three Israeli generals walking side by side for the first time through the gates of the Old City. The three were all young accomplished military officers at the time. They were Moshe Dayan, Uzi Narkiss and Yitzchak Rabin. At the time—it was June, 1967, they were just doing their jobs. What their individual ideological or religious feelings were at this momentous and indeed historical time was not relevant and no one seemed to think about them or consider that as part of any future equation.
The famous words during those famous days as paratroopers chased the remnants of Jordanian forces from the Temple Mount was—“Har HaBayit B’yadenu.” Those were the words uttered by a pltoon commander to headquarters that mean, “The Temple Mount is in our hands.” It was chilling then as it still is very much so today. More in this week’s 5TJT