This month—June 2017—marks the 50th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem as the undivided, eternal capital of the Jewish people. What was the city’s status before Israeli victory in 1967’s Six Day War? At that time, Eastern Jerusalem and the Old City were occupied by Jordan; all Jewish residents had been either killed or driven out, and even Jewish tourists were banned from ancient holy places like the Western Wall.
The UN Partition Plan of 1947 had called for international status for all of Jerusalem, but the Arabs rejected the plan and destroyed 58 synagogues in the ancient Jewish Quarter. UN control of Jerusalem was supposed to last only 10 years, when residents would vote to decide the city’s permanent status. Since Jerusalem’s population was two-thirds Jewish in 1947, and remains so today, the Holy City would have ended up as the undivided capital of the Jewish state of Israel, even under the UN’s original plans.