Tonight starts the date of 28 Iyar. This is the date that the holy city of Jerusalem was reunited, and her children who had longed for her were finally able to return to the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, and all of the Old City and Mount of Olives.
The Arabs had for 19 years prevented Jews from visiting these holy sites, and had desecrated places of worship and Torah study, and the even the ancient Jewish cemetery. On this day, Zion’s children returned to her. Within another 24 hours, longing children would also return to Gush Etzion and Hevron.
To tell the truth, one shouldn’t have to say anything about Jerusalem and Jerusalem Day. Devoted Jews have faced Jerusalem in prayer daily since the time of King Solomon. All over the world and all throughout our history, our eyes and hearts have been turned only to the place the Torah calls ‘the place God chooses’.
But something must be said.
So I will refer us to a famous narrative concerning Rav AY Kook, when the nations of the world questioned the Jewish place in Jerusalem, and the place of Jerusalem in Jewish hearts and Judaism.
“Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook recalled the tremendous pressures placed upon his father that evening in 1930 in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood of Jerusalem.
“How intense, how grave, how terrible were the threats and intimidations at that time, with all of their bitter pressure, from two nations [the Arabs and the British] goading us with lies and murderous traps for the sake of an agreement to relinquish ownership over the Kotel, the remaining wall of our Holy Temple…” (LeNetivot Yisrael vol. I, p. 65)
The infamous Hajj Amin al-Husseini was appointed Mufti of Jerusalem — the spiritual and national leader of the Arabs — already in the days of the first British High Commissioner. One of the many devices that he and his cohorts employed in their struggle against the Jewish Settlement was the repudiation of all Jewish rights to the Kotel HaMa’aravi, the Western Wall.
The Arabs gained a partial victory in 1922, when the Mandatory Government issued a ban against placing benches near the Wall. In 1928, British officers interrupted the Yom Kippur service and forcibly dismantled the mechitzah separating men and women during prayer. A few months later, the Mufti and his cohorts devised a new provocation. They began holding Muslim religious ceremonies opposite theKotel, precisely when the Jews were praying. To make matters worse, the British authorities granted the Arabs permission to transform the building adjacent to theKotel into a mosque, complete with a tower for themuezzin (the crier who calls Moslems to prayer five times a day). The muezzin’s vociferous trills were sure to disturb the Jewish prayers.”
The rest may be read here: www.ravkooktorah.org/YOM_YER65.htm
See too this excellent and unique post with photos from shortly after the liberation: www.templeinstitute.org/temple_mount_liberation.htm
Also posted at www.kolberamah.org.