Looking down on the Old City of Jerusalem from its strategic vantage point on Mount Scopus, the Israeli Defense Force was preparing to strike the Jordanians.
For the last 19 years Jerusalem had been divided. In the 1948 War of Independence, Jordan had captured the eastern part of the city, including the Old City and the Temple Mount, the location of the ancient Jewish Temples and Judaism’s holiest site.
Under Jordanian rule, Jews were evicted from the Jewish Quarter, synagogues were destroyed and the neighboring Mount of Olives cemetery - Judaism’s oldest and holiest - was vandalized. Since then, Jews were barred from their holy sites in eastern Jerusalem, despite the promise of religious rights in the 1949 armistice agreement.
In the early morning of June 7, Israeli paratroopers advanced on the city, using no artillery so as to preserve the ancient site. After battling for hours and suffering numerous casualties, the Israelis prevailed.
Israeli Army Radio broadcast a cry now famous in the annals of Israeli history - “Har Habayit Beyadenu, Har Habayit Beyadenu!” - the Temple Mount is in our hands, the Temple Mount is in our hands.
Paratroopers and Israeli army officials streamed into the Old City to pray at the Western Wall, and hung an Israeli flag on the Temple Mount. For the first time in 2,000 years, Jerusalem was reunited under Jewish sovereignty.
Israeli troops then began to advance into the areas surrounding Jerusalem. The historic biblical cities of Hebron and Bethlehem were captured with little to no resistance, as was Gush Etzion. The West Bank, the historical birthplace of the Jewish people, and biblically referred to as Judea and Samaria, was once again part of a Jewish state.
The battle on the Eastern front was nearly over. But in the north the fighting continued.
This video was produced by Jerusalem U in partnership with The Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Jewish National Fund, the Israel Action Network, the European Jewish Congress and the Center for Israel Education. For more on the dramatic events and impact of the Six Day War, visit sixdaywarproject.org.