As part of the four-day World Mizrachi Movement celebration of 50 years since Jerusalem’s reunification, Tzion Karasenti, Yitzhak Yifat, and Chaim Oshri, the three Israeli paratroopers from David Rubinger’s iconic photo, returned to the Western Wall at the exact time of day when they liberated the holy site five decades ago. This time, they were joined by thousands of Jews from around the globe who came to Israel to participate in the World Mizrachi Movement’s Yom Yerushalayim 50 Mega-Mission. The group came from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Gibraltar, Spain, the UK, South Africa, and Australia and were accompanied by Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Chief Rabbi Efraim Mirvis of the UK.
Tzion Karasenti, who was the first paratrooper to reach the Kotel in 1967, described the event: “Seeing the magnitude of people here celebrating is simply incredible. The outpouring of love that we have received over the last few days from the participants of the World Mizrachi Movement has been amazing. Returning to the Kotel with these people was almost as exciting as my first time. To see the joy in their eyes, being with the three of us on this momentous occasion, made the moment even more special.”
Rabbi Doron Perez, CEO of the World Mizrachi Movement and organizer of the event, said, “This was the pinnacle of our four-day program; being able to stand at the Kotel with these three men at the exact time of day that they liberated the site 50 years ago was a life changing experience. Jews from ten countries worldwide traveled thousands of miles for this moment alone. We hope that the experience imbued them with a deeper appreciation for the Land, Torah, and People of Israel, which they will inject back into their communities.”
He added, “Make no mistake–the miracles of the Six Day War were the greatest thing to happen to the Jewish people since the time of Chanukah, if not the splitting of the Red Sea.”
The World Mizrachi Movement was established in 1902. A Hebrew acronym for “Merkaz Ruchani,” or a spiritual center, it bridged the Orthodox Jewish world with the unfolding Modern Zionist movement. The Mizrachi movement was at the center of Israel’s creation and remains steadfast in defending Israel on every possible platform. Through its global educational activities, the World Mizrachi Movement is preparing the next generation of world Jewry to love and appreciate the one and only Jewish State. To learn more, visit www.mizrachi.org.