This June marks the 50th anniversary of the re-unification of Jerusalem following Israel’s victory in the Six Day War.
Many Americans mistakenly believe that only then, in 1967, did Jerusalem become Israel’s capital with a clear Jewish majority. But it has always been the seat of Israel’s parliament; two-thirds of the city’s population was already Jewish at the time of Israeli independence in 1948.
In fact, Jews constituted Jerusalem’s largest religious group as early as the mid-nineteenth century and the city served as the Judean capital for a thousand years from the King David to the Roman dispersion. Meanwhile, Jerusalem has never been a Palestinian Arab capital: between 1948 and 1967, Arab forces occupied a small portion of the city, but the nation of Jordan, not any Palestinian entity, controlled that territory. This year’s 50th anniversary is a good occasion to come to terms with the true history of the holy city.