Today is Jerusalem Day, when the Holy City celebrates 50 years of being unified under Israeli rule. In today’s Times of Israel, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, a friend of The Fellowship, shares his reflections on the significant past and inspiring present of this amazing city.
I was seven years old when the Six Day War broke out in 1967. My family and I lived in Jerusalem, a few hundred meters from the no man’s land between Jordanian and Israeli territory that divided the city. The State of Israel was preparing for an imminent onslaught. As a little boy, I remember helping soldiers dig trenches in our yard and hiding with my brothers under our beds when the war began. For days, our streets were bombed and our neighbors were wounded. Until suddenly the war was over.
My family and I went out to walk the streets of our newly reunited city. I saw the adults around me crying. As a child, I couldn’t understand. Only years later did I realize the source of that outpouring of emotion.
In that moment, we fulfilled a 2,000 year old dream. . .
For me, to be a Jerusalemite is to march in the City of David where kings and prophets walked. To buy fruits and vegetables in the colorful Machane Yehuda market during the day and to enjoy the vibrant scene that comes to life there at night. To run the breathtaking Jerusalem Marathon alongside the walls of the Old City. To be with tens of thousands of fellow Jews at the Western Wall for the priestly blessing of the kohanim. To drive with Mobileye founders Ziv Aviram and Amnon Shashua in the autonomous cars that will first travel Jerusalem’s streets and then spread to the corners of the globe. To work with Beit Hanina community leaders to build the neighborhood’s future. These are unique Jerusalem experiences that cannot be found in any other place in the world.
Learn more about the holiday and the Holy City at our special Jerusalem Day page.