Jerusalem Day is a holiday celebrating the conquest of East Jerusalem on June 7, 1967 (Iyar 28th - כ"ח באייר), on the second day of the Six-Day War. This conquest brought unification of Jerusalem.
This day was instituted as a national Holiday by the Jerusalem Day Law (חוק יום ירושלים) - approved by the Knesset in 1998.
The holiday is "optional", meaning that the worker can take a vacation that will be counted in the yearly vacation days of the worker.
Historical significance of the Jerusalem Day
The most sacred site for the Jewish People is the Temple Mount (הר הבית) where King Solomon built the Temple. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Roman army in 70 CE (see a brief history of Israel). The Western Wall of the Temple Mount remained the most prominent remnant of the Temple. During the Islamic rule in the Holy Land, the Jewish people were not allowed to congregate on the Temple Mount.
Until 1948, Jewish people lived in the Old City of Jerusalem. However, during the Independence War of Israel, the Eastern side of Jerusalem was conquered by the Jordanian Army and the Jewish residents left East Jerusalem. The Jordanians destroyed all the Jewish synagogues. After the liberation of East Jerusalem, the Western Wall area was cleared and opened for Jewish religious rites. In contrast to Arabs, Israel allows Arab Moslems to pray freely on the Temple Mount.