• Annemeet Hasidi-van Der Leij

"Jerusalem of Gold" - the song of the Six Day War


"Jerusalem of Gold" (ירושלים של זהב‎‎) is an Israeli song written by Naomi Shemer. The song described the Jewish people's 2000-year longing to return to Jerusalem; Shemer added a final verse after the Six-Day War to celebrate Jerusalem's re-unification.

Naomi Shemer wrote the original song for the Israeli Song Festival (it was not in competition but had been commissioned by the Mayor, Teddy Kollek), held on 15 May 1967, the night after Israel's nineteenth Independence Day. She chose the then-unknown Shuli Nathan to sing the song.

At that time, the Old City was still controlled by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and under its sovereignty rule. Jews had been banned from the Old City and the rest of Jerusalem east of it, losing their homes and possessions and becoming refugees. All Jews were barred from either returning or entering the areas under Jordanian control, and many holy sites were desecrated and damaged during that period. Only three weeks after the song was published, the Six-Day War broke out, and the song became a morale-boosting battle cry of the Israel Defense Forces. Shemer herself sang it for the troops before the war and the festival, making them among the first in the world to hear it.

On 7 June, the IDF conquered eastern Jerusalem and the Old City from the Jordanians. When Shemer heard the paratroopers singing "Jerusalem of Gold" at the Western Wall, she wrote the final verse, countering the phrases of lamentation in the second verse. The line about shofars sounding from the Temple Mount is a reference to an event that actually took place on that day.

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