Israelis celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification May 23-24. Leading up to the holy city’s semi-centennial milestone, here are 50 facts highlighting the rich tapestry of Israel’s capital:
1. Jerusalem Day is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War.
2. During the Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem, Jews were not allowed to access their holy sites, including the Western Wall.
3. Jerusalem has been attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, besieged 23 times and destroyed twice over the course of 3,000 years.
4. Israel is the only country to enter the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, and you can enjoy them over a picnic or barbecue in the Jerusalem Forest.
5. The name “Jerusalem” most likely comes from “Urusalim,” a word of Semitic origin meaning “Foundation of Shalem (wholeness)” or “Foundation of God.”