Jerusalem Day

Jerusalem Day (Hebrew: יום ירושלים, Yom Yerushalayim) is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in June 1967. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel declared Jerusalem Day a minor religious holiday to thank God for victory in the Six-Day War and for answering the 2,000-year-old prayer of “Next Year in Jerusalem”.

Yom Yerushalayim begins at sundown on Tue, 23 May 2017 (8th day of the month of Iyyar in the Hebrew calendar).

What Do People Do?

Yom Yerushalayim is marked with a range of events in many Jewish communities. These include: recitations of the Hallel prayer for praise and thanksgiving in synagogues; street parades, parties, singing and dancing; special meals; and lectures on the history and future of Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, a public reception by the mayor of Jerusalem, state ceremonies and memorial services for those who died in the Six-Day War are also held. In Israel, some people mark the occasion by traveling or even hiking to Jerusalem.

Public Life

Yom Yerushalayim is a public holiday in Israel. It is not a public holiday in countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom or the United States. However, many Jewish organizations may be closed or offer a limited service so special events can be held.


After Israel declared its independence in 1948, it was attacked by the neighboring Arab countries, resulting in the Arab-Israeli War. At the end of this war, the city of Jerusalem was divided. Israeli forces controlled most of the city and East Jerusalem, including the Old City, was controlled by Jordanian forces. The Old City was important for strategic and religious reasons, as many sites of religious importance are in this part of the city. These include: the Dome of the Rock and al-Asqa Mosque (Muslims); the Temple Mount and the Western Wall or Kotel (Jewish); and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Christian).

On June 7, 1967, one day into the Six-Day War, Israeli forces captured the old city of Jerusalem. This resulted in the reunification of Jerusalem as part of Israel. According to the Hebrew calendar, it was the 28th day of the month of Iyar in the year 5727 and the anniversary of this date is known as Yom Yerushalayim or Jerusalem Day.

The 40th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem was in 2007. The slogan for the celebrations in this year translates as “Something special for everyone”, with a play on the Hebrew words for “special” and “united”. A special logo representing the number 40 and the city walls was presented and the approach to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv was decorated with blue lighting.

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