Islam & Jerusalem


Convivium, 9 June 2017

Today Editor In Chief Father Raymond J. de Souza takes Convivium readers back to the Six Day War of 1967 that occurred this week in June 50 years ago. 

The Six Day War, the 50th anniversary of which falls this week, fundamentally re-shaped the Arab-Israeli conflict, the wider Middle East, and global politics. That week in June 1967 set in motion forces that dominate international relations today.

For Jews in Israel and throughout the diaspora, the routing of the more numerous Arab forces was a victory on a biblical scale. The establishment of Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall in the Old City, in the words of Psalm 126, “seemed like a dream”. For the first time in two millennia, Jews were sovereign in a united Jerusalem, over their holiest place.

The Six Day War made the holy places more accessible for both Jews – who previously were barred from the Old City – and for Christians too. Israeli sovereignty over the Old City, whatever it might mean for global politics and security, has been very good for pilgrims to the world’s spiritual capital – even if local Christians have grievances.

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