Hundreds of police and Border Guards were on patrol in Yerushalayim on Sunday as Israel celebrated the 49th anniversary of the liberation of the city from Jordanian occupation in the Six Day War of 1967. Mayor Nir Barkat said that he expected all the events to be held without incident – including the “flag parade,” an event that in the past has been the venue for tension.
The parade generally begins at the entrance of the city, adjacent to the Mercaz Harav Yeshivah and proceeding to the Old City, generally proceeding to the Jewish Quarter and then to the Kosel. In years past, the parade has occasionally veered into the Muslim Quarter, but several groups have this year filed a petition with the High Court to prevent the parade from following that route.
In any event, police said that they had come to an understanding with organizers that marchers would enter the Old City only through the Jaffa Gate later in the afternoon, because of the fact that Ramadan begins Monday night and police are seeking to prevent tension before that event. Speaking to Channel Two, a police spokesperson said that officers would show “zero tolerance for any physical or verbal violence. We shall use all the tools at our disposal to deal with those who seek to upset the public order and for those who break the law, and they shall be dealt with to the full extent of the law.”
An official state ceremony will take place Sunday evening at Ammunition Hill, scene of a key battle during the Six Day War which led to the capture of the Old City. Speakers at the event will include Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Mayor Nir Barkat. Later, a special event featuring Israel’s Chief Rabbis, MKs and other dignitaries will take place at the Mercaz Harav Yeshivah.
Major arteries in the city will be closed throughout the day to accommodate marchers and other events. On Motzoei Shabbos, thousands of people streamed to the kever of Shmuel Hanavi north of Yerushalayim for the yahrtzeit of the Navi. That event will continue through Monday, and roads in the area will be closed to accommodate the many visitors to the site. Access to the kever will generally be allowed only via bus.