Three paratroopers from famed Western Wall photo return to site 50 years later

David Rubinger’s iconic photo shows Israeli paratroopers standing in front of the Western Wall in Jerusalem shortly after its capture during the Six-Day War, June 7, 1967. (David Rubinger/GPO)

From left, Israeli paratroopers Tzion Karasenti, Yitzhak Yifat and Chaim Oshri standing at the Western Wall after Israel captured the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, June 7, 1967. (David Rubinger/GPO)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – The three Israeli paratroopers whose photograph has symbolized the Jewish return to the Western Wall were back there on Jerusalem Day at the exact hour when they liberated the site 50 years ago.

Yitzhak Yifat, Tzion Karasenti and Chaim Oshri joined thousands of Jews from around the world to mark Jerusalem Day.

“Returning to the Kotel with these people was almost as exciting as my first time,” Karasenti, the first paratrooper to reach the Western Wall in 1967, said in a statement. “To see the joy in their eyes, being with the three of us on this momentous occasion made the moment even more special.”

Natan Sharansky, chair of the Jewish Agency and a former Soviet refusenik, recalled what the reunification of the city did for Soviet Jewry.

“When the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces broke through the gates of Jerusalem’s Old City, they also punched a hole in the Iron Curtain, inspiring us Soviet Jews to start our struggle for freedom,” Sharansky said in a statement. “This struggle, supported by Jews around the world, ultimately brought down the Iron Curtain and enabled a million Jews to come home to Israel.

“Sadly, there remain many around the world who deny our connection to this land and to our holiest city, including in international forums. It was therefore deeply gratifying to see the President of the United States make a point of visiting the Western Wall and emphasizing the centrality of Jerusalem to the Jewish people throughout his time in Israel. Peace will not come to this troubled region through the hateful denial of historical facts, but rather through the acceptance of the Jewish people’s ties to this land and the legitimacy of our sovereign presence here.”

Among those on hand at the Western Wall were the participants in the World Mizrachi Movement’s Yom Yerushalayim 50 Mega-Mission. British Chief Rabbi Efraim Mirvis, and his predecessor, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, accompanied the group from the religious Zionist umbrella organization.

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Czech parliamentary resolution calls for recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

(JTA) – The Czech parliament passed a nonbinding resolution calling on the country’s government to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

A majority of lawmakers voted for the measure on Tuesday ahead of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, the Czech news agency CTK reported. The report did not include the text of the resolution, which also did not appear in the relevant section of the website of the Czech parliament. [Read more…]

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Tens of thousands gather in Jerusalem to celebrate 50th anniversary of reunification

The walls of Jerusalem’s Old City are projected with video art during a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification and the 1967 War, May 21, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
The walls of Jerusalem’s Old City are projected with video art during a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification and the 1967 War, May 21, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The walls of Jerusalem’s Old City are projected with video art during a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification and the 1967 War, May 21, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Tens of thousands gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the city’s reunification.

Ceremonies and events took place throughout Wednesday in the Israeli capital to mark the annual observance of Jerusalem Day. Among the events were memorials for soldiers killed in the Six-Day War in 1967. A state memorial also was held at Mount Herzl cemetery for the thousands of Ethiopians who died on the way to Israel. [Read more…]

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Knife-wielding Palestinian teen shot and killed in Jerusalem as Trump tours nearby

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel Police officers shot and killed a Palestinian teenager who attempted to stab them just outside the Old City of Jerusalem as U.S. President Donald Trump was visiting holy sites in the city.

The teen, who was identified by the Palestinian Maan news agency as a 16-year-old from Bethlehem, approached the Border Police officers at a guard post in eastern Jerusalem on Monday afternoon with the knife drawn and disputed with the officers before being shot, according to the police.  [Read more…]

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White House uses ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ in live feed of Trump visit

(JTA) – The White House used the term “Jerusalem, Israel” in a live video feed of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the city, a departure from the policies of past administrations.

The caption appeared on the video feed of Monday’s news conference at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence. It came as Trump administration officials continue to differ over whether to describe the contested city as being part of Israel, and as Israeli officials urge the White House to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  [Read more…]

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Israeli minister dismisses critics who panned Jerusalem dress at Cannes

Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev wearing a dress depicting the Old City of Jerusalem at the Cannes Film Festival in France, France, May 17, 2017. (Antonin Thuillier/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev wearing a dress depicting the Old City of Jerusalem at the Cannes Film Festival in France, France, May 17, 2017. (Antonin Thuillier/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev wearing a dress depicting the Old City of Jerusalem at the Cannes Film Festival in France, France, May 17, 2017. (Antonin Thuillier/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Israel’s culture minister dismissed criticism over her wearing to the Cannes Film Festival’s opening a dress whose hem features an image of Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem is not a provocation, and it was lovely to see how much affection the dress received at Cannes,” Miri Regev, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rightist Likud party, told Ynet in an interview about the dress. [Read more…]

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Trump: Netanyahu may join me at the Western Wall

(JTA) – U.S. President Donald Trump said he has not ruled out inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join him when he visits Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

“We have not yet made a final decision about my visit to the Western Wall,” Trump, who is scheduled to visit Israel next week, told the Israel Hayom newspaper in an interview Thursday. “We have great respect for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the decision to have the rabbi [of the Western Wall] accompany us was primarily because that is the custom at the site. It could still change.” [Read more…]

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