Should the Lion’s Gate Be Reopened for Jerusalem Day?

May 11, 2015  

Outgoing Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) penned a letter Monday morning to Jerusalem District Police Commander Moshe Edri and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, demanding to reopen the Lion’s Gate and allow tens of thousands of celebrants to march through the Muslim Quarter on Jerusalem Day. 

“Tens of thousands of marchers entering the Old City on all sides has become the symbol of Jerusalem Day,” Ariel wrote. 

The minister stressed that “a ban on crossing the Lions Gate Jerusalem radiates weakness and reflects a lack of Israel’s sovereignty over Greater Jerusalem.” 

Ariel himself plans to march through the Lion’s Gate, accompanied by 100 people, in the event the police officials reconsider their decision. 

The Lion’s Gate is of great symbolic importance due to the fact that paratroopers broke through and liberated the Old City along that route during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Five years ago, following the construction of the Light Rail, police have not allowed revelers to walk through the gate and has made it virtually impossible for the marchers to move in that direction; the traditional march to the Western Wall (Kotel) has been rerouted to Damascus Gate instead. 

At the time of the ban, then-MK Ariel warned that a prohibition meant to be temporary would become permanent and cause endless problems – a predication that was fulfilled. 

The traditional ‘Rikudegalim’ (Dance of Flags) will be held on Jerusalem Day next Sunday, continuing a thirty-year tradition. 

Tens of thousands of revelers will gather from across the country and from various locations around the city of Jerusalem and march, singing and dancing, to the gates of the Old City and the Western Wall.

Ariel called on the public to march en masse.

“I call on the public to join me in celebrating Jerusalem Day, to swear allegiance to the Holy City, and to celebrate the work of our soldiers — soldiers who liberated Jerusalem from Arab occupation.” 

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