Today, Israel is celebrating with a heart so full. Today is the 45th anniversary of an historical correction. We didn’t try to make that correction; it was truly forced upon us. But the results are so right that I sit here today in my office in Jerusalem, dressed in blue and white – for myself, because I have no meetings today; and for Jerusalem, because I love this city very much.
In 1967, Israel tried to avoid war – as it does today, as it has from the beginning. We accepted the Partition Plan of the United Nations, splitting the land among Jews and Arabs. They, the Arabs, rejected it, believing they could “push the Jews into the sea” – their words, my history. Within hours of the declaration of Israel’s statehood, five Arab nations invaded. We were outnumbered, outgunned, out…well, out everything, and still we fought and won.
That was in 1948 – the Arabs tried again in 1956, and again they were defeated. They began making plans for another war in 1967. Their intent had not changed, but this time, Israel launched a preemptive strike against Syria and Egypt, while sending a message to Jordan.
This was the atmosphere before…they cannot say, in their words, that we wanted war and they wanted peace:
Another video on YouTube shows Jordan’s position – his words, my history:
The Jordanians chose to “fight with their brothers” – and by all that is logical, Israel should have lost. Again, his words – my history.
And finally, this video – it took me quite a while to find it in English. It is the moment when our forces broke through – back to the Old City, back to the Western Wall. There is a tradition to write a prayer, a hope, on a piece of paper and place it in the crevices of the wall. Two times a year, these thousands and thousands of tiny scraps of paper are removed and buried in a holy place so that there would be room for many other prayers of those who come, around the year, around the clock, to pray.
Today is the 45th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. For 19 years, while the Jordanians held the Old City, Jews were denied the right to pray at the Western Wall. Since that time, Israel has done all it can to ensure religious freedom – allowing Muslim, Christian, and Jew the chance to pray in their holy places.
The only time the Arabs are restricted or denied entry to their holy places is when they riot or threaten violence. And even then, it is but a matter of days, not weeks, months, years. For 19 years, we were denied – and since then – every day, without exception, Jews come.
May God bless the city of Jerusalem with peace and may we forever know her glory. Happy Reunification, Jerusalem – you get better and better every year!