Israel - 45 years of independence

  • Issue: April 1993
  • Designer: Y. Granot
  • Stamp size: 40 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 179
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

In the years from 1948 to 1967 Jerusalem was a divided city: barbed-wire fences and mine fields cut through the town. The city was indeed the front-line in a war zone, with the cease-fire being broken from time to time by Jordanian soldiers firing on the Western City, wounding and killing people on the Jewish side. The Jewish population of Israel was denied access to Judaism's holiest of shrines - the Western Wall of the Second Temple, as well as to the institutions on Mount Scopus: the Hebrew University and the Hadassah Hospital. The Jewish Quarter of the Old City was systematically destroyed as was the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, in itself an historic and sacred site. Here thousands of gravestones were uprooted and used for paving and construction.

This state of affairs continued until the Six-Day War. On the morning of Monday 5 June 1967, the Jordanians opened tire along the line dividing the two sides of the city. By the afternoon, the Jordanian Legion forces had overrun 'Armon Hanatziv", the Governor's Residence during the British Mandate Period, which now served as the UN Observers Headquarters. Within two days the situation was reversed, the Jordanian army having sustained a defeat which changed the face of Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Within three days the Jordanians were ousted from all their positions in the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem was surrounded. The decision to take Jerusalem was a hard one because of the political ramifications, and it had to be ensured that in the heat of battle the Holy Places would not be stamp. damaged. The Prime Minister, Levi Eshkol, declared: "The dictate of the hour is the unification of Jerusalem. No longer will there be two cities, but one" he said, using the phrase of the Psalmist (Psalms 122, 2) - "a city which is unified together". The war in Jerusalem was over quickly. The IDE forces, the paratroopers and the Jerusalem Brigade at their head, entered the Old City through the Lion's Gate and the Dung Gate. The words "The Temple Mount is in our hands", echoed from mouth to mouth. The first paratroopers had rushed to the holiest site of all, the Western Wall, and on that same day the leaders of the newly unified city prayed there.

The unification of the city was accompanied by legislation. Three laws were passed by the Knesset on 27 June 1967. The first extended legal jurisdiction to include East Jerusalem; the second law widened the city's boundaries threefold; and the third determined the protection of all the holy places and freedom of access to them to people of all religions. A further law - the basic law concerning Jerusalem - was passed 13 years later, in 1990, determining that Greater Jerusalem, fully unified, is the capital of Israel and the official location for all central Government offices.

In the years immediately following the Six-Day War, an accelerated process of restoration and construction of unprecedented scope tool* place in the city and its environs.

Institutions were built, whole neighbourhoods were constructed and a network of roads was paved, opening up new routes for traffic. Security and geo-political considerations were behind this accelerated construction, in the course of which new residential areas were established surrounding the whole of the city, and increasing its Jewish population.

Construction was not restricted to the suburbs alone: major changes took place within the city itself. Yemin Moshe, previously an outlying neighbourhood, became a high-class residential area. Both in old neighbourhoods such as Talpiot, Bayit Vegan and Beit Hakerem and in the new neighbourhoods of Givat Mordechai, Ramat Shareft, Givat Havradim and others, a large number of new apartments were built.

A great deal of restoration activity took place in the Jewish Quarter, as well as in the other quarters of the Old City; streets were repaved and drainage, sewage and water systems, electricity and telephone lines were laid. The unification of the city made many places accessible for the first time allowing visitors to Jerusalem free and equal access to the holy sites and providing each with the opportunity to visit and pray at the places sacred to him.

Hurbat Rabbi Vehuda Hasid, Jerusalem

The 45th anniversary of Israel's independence stamp is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Unification of Jerusalem. On the stamp can be seen the famous Hurvat Rabbi Yehuda Hassid" Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old city. Rabbi Yehuda the Hassid came to Israel at the head of a large group of Polish Jews in 1700 and immediately bought a yard nest door to the synagogue which Nahmanides had established in the 13th century. Construction later began on a yeshiva end a synagogue. but worh was stopped before they were completed. More than 150 years later, a large Ashkenazi synagogue was built on the site, called the "Hurvat Rabbi Yehuda Hassid Synagogue" - or, for short, "HaHurva", meaning "the Ruin". The official name of the synagogue was "Beit Ya'acov" the House of Jacobi after Baron James lYsacovi Rothschild. whose family helped fund its building. After the tall of the Jewish Quarter in 1948, the Jordanians blew up the synagogue, destroying it almost completely.

"HaHurva" is located on "Rehov HaYehudim", in the center of the rebuilt Jewish Quarter. The synagogue has as yet not been rebuilt, and the large stone arch, which is the only remnant ot it left, is shown on the lower part of the stamp.

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Israel - 45 years of independence