Just a couple days ago we as Jews celebrated Yom Yerushalaim.
A day when we celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967.
This date is celebrated based on the Hebrew calendar (28th of Iyar), which this year was this past Sunday night and Monday.
Since 1998, Palestinians comemorate on May 15th the Nakba (Catastrophe) Day, a remembrance of the displacement of a majority of the Palestinian people caused by the establishment of the State of Israel and the war that followed it.
This week is also important for the Muslim population of Israel, as they are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan. This date follows the Islamic Calendar, which is lunar, so it can be at any time of the solar calendar over the years.
Adding to this national and religious commemorations, Israel is at the end of the 4th cycle of elections in 2 years. It is possible that a 5th round of elections will happen still this year, unless a national unity government is formed within the next month.
At the same time, Palestinian elections, that were supposed to happen after 17 years without one, were postponed by Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian National Authority.
If this was not enough, conflicts started in the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood between Jews and Arabs, escalating very quickly in the past few days.
At this point, hundreds of rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. While most of them were taken down by the Iron Dome defense system, some hit buildings and hurt people in Israel, besides the panic going around with all the ongoing violence.
At the same time, Israelretaliated against Gaza, killing and hurting many others as well.
I ask myself today: “what is the role of religion on this Yom Yerushalaim?”
Psalm 122 teaches that Jerusalem is a city that unites all.
As religious people, we pray that violence will end in Israel and Palestine and we protest as a religious action against all the terrorist organizations and leaders using violence to achieve their own personal goals hurting and killing many in the way.
The same psalm ends with a powerful message for today:
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May those who love you prosper.
May there be peace within your walls, serenity within your homes.”