History

Following Israel's War of Independence in 1948-49, Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan, with Israel controlling the western part of the city, and Jordan the eastern portion, including the historic and religiously significant Old City.

In May 1967, the city remained divided by walls and barbed wire fences. On May 14-15, 1967, Jerusalem hosted the annual Independence Day festivities. As the Israeli residents of Jerusalem celebrated the anniversary of their independence, they could hardly know that events were conspiring to bring a war that would completely transform their city, their country, and the Middle East. In weeks, the city of Jerusalem and the entire Middle East was completely transformed. What had been a two millennia old national yearning for Jews became a 20th century reality: a united city under Jewish control; the defining symbol of the rebirth of the Jewish people. Those who had celebrated Independence Day in divided Jerusalem walked to the Old City and stood at the Western Wall less than one month later. The walls and barbed wire were removed, but not without cost in human blood.

In the nearly half century since, the united city of Jerusalem has been transformed from a backwater into a beautiful and thriving metropolis. But it is only the city that was reunited, not its populations. Jerusalem would be seen as the heart of the Arab-Israel dispute, even as it would also become a city in which Jews and Arabs live alongside each other in relative tranquility.

It is within this context that we present the story of ordinary people in Jerusalem at a time of enormous historical significance.

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