Israelis are out celebrating Jerusalem Day as the Jubilee year of Jerusalem's unification begins, led by students at the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in the capital city..
The holiday commemorates the liberation and unification of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War on the 28th day of the Hebrew month of Sivan.. The yeshiva's then-head, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, was an outspoken advocate of Jerusalem's holiness and importance.
Prior to the dancing, there was a festive Maariv (evening) prayer service inside the yeshiva, ending with the Havdala prayer said at the close of the Sabbath and with the singing of Shir Hamaalot (A Song of Ascents, Psalms 126) to the tune of Israel's national anthem, a spirited rendition of "Next year in rebuilt Jerusalem" and the moving "Song of Faith," Rabbi Avraham Hacohen Kook's lyric poem which attests to the faith the Jewish People have in their return to the city chosen by King David.
Yeshivas from outside Jerusalem joined the Merkaz Harav student body of hundreds for Shabbat, sleeping on the floor and in the high school dormitory and eating in shifts – from as far away as Yerucham in the Negev, Migdal Oz in the north and Or Etzion in central Israel. The venerable head of the hesder yeshiva network Rabbi Chaim Drukman, Yerucham Hesder Yeshiva Dean Rabbi Blumentzveig, Dean of Merkaz Harav Yaakov Shapira and Merkaz Harav Yeshiva Rabbi Avraham Sylvetsky delivered Torah lectures on Friday night and Shabbat afternoon.