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Jerusalem Day in Israel

Yom Yerushalayim, also known as Jerusalem Day, commemorates Jerusalem's reunification in 1967. This day begins on 28th day of the month of Iyyar in the Hebrew calendar.

Is Jerusalem Day a Public Holiday?

Even though Jerusalem Day falls on Friday, May 22, 2020, it is a working day. Most businesses follow regular opening hours in Israel.

Yom Yerushalayim is a public holiday in Israel but is observed by many Jewish people worldwide.

©iStockphoto.com/Alex Slobodkin

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 national and Hebrew holiday in Israel. Schools are closed, but it is a working day in many businesses. It is not a public holiday in countries such as United States, the UK, Canada, or Australia. However, many Jewish organizations in these countries may be closed or offer a limited service so special events can be held.

Background

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 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.

Jerusalem Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015SunMay 17Jerusalem DayObservance, Hebrew
2016SunJun 5Jerusalem DayObservance, Hebrew
2017WedMay 24Jerusalem DayObservance, Hebrew
2018SunMay 13Jerusalem DayObservance, Hebrew
2019SunJun 2Jerusalem DayObservance, Hebrew
2020FriMay 22Jerusalem DayObservance, Hebrew
2021MonMay 10Jerusalem DayObservance, Hebrew
2022SunMay 29Jerusalem DayObservance, Hebrew
2023FriMay 19Jerusalem DayObservance, Hebrew
2024WedJun 5Jerusalem DayObservance, Hebrew
2025MonMay 26Jerusalem DayObservance, Hebrew

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