Jerusalem Day Celebration Underscores Israeli-Palestinian Divide

Source: The New York Times

JERUSALEM — Three old men who are better known for being young men stood on Wednesday morning where they had 50 years earlier: in Jerusalem’s Old City, at the limestone retaining wall that is one of the holiest places for Jews.

In a moment frozen in a famous photo, the three men, who were among the paratroopers who had pushed through Jerusalem until they stood at the Western Wall itself in 1967, looked up in awe at a holy site that had been barred to Jews for almost two decades.

“We will never give back Jerusalem,” one of the three, Zion Karasenti, now 74, said as the anniversary arrived Wednesday, at 10:08 a.m. “If they have to capture it again, we will be in the front line.”

This year marks half a century since the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, in which Israel defied annihilation by its Arab neighbors and also came to rule over Palestinian Arabs in captured areas, including in the Old City. Predictably, there is profound disagreement over what the anniversary means, and even over the date: Wednesday was exactly 50 years since the Western Wall’s capture from Jordan, along with the rest of the Old City, but by the Jewish lunar calendar. The date on a standard calendar is June 7, 1967.

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