Men from your midst shall rebuild ancient ruins, You shall restore foundations laid long ago. And you shall be called “Repairer of fallen walls, Restorer of lanes for habitation.” ISAIAH 58:12 (The Israel Bible™)
Although the Old City was lost in the 1948 War of Independence, it was liberated in the June 1967 Six-Day War. In May of 1967, Israeli songwriter, Naomi Shemer (1930-2004), composed the song Yerushalayim Shel Zahav (ירושלים של זהב), ‘Jerusalem of Gold,’ for the Israeli Song Festival. In it, she poetically describes the people’s 2,000 year long, ongoing yearning for the city, “How the cisterns have dried, the market-place is empty, and no one frequents the Temple Mount, in the Old City. Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light, behold I am a lyre for all your songs.” Not only an instant national hit, when war broke out a month later its lyrics and melody expressed the longing for ancient Jerusalem, which would be liberated in that war, in a way that mere words could not. Just after the war, Shemer added another stanza, “The cisterns are filled again with water, the square with joyous crowd, on the Temple Mount within the Old City, the shofar rings out loud.” The ancient ruins were rebuilt and the foundations laid long ago restored. Fittingly, “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” has become Israel’s unofficial national anthem.