b'WESTERN MARBLE ARCH SYNAGOGUEYOM YERUSHALYIM NIGEL PETERST his National Holiday was proclaimed by the Chief Rabbi of Israel to be a minor religious holiday to thank G-d for victory in the Six Day War and for answering the ancient prayer of Next YearinJerusalem,andtomarktheregainingof access to the Kotel and all the Old City.Forthefirst19yearsoftheState,Jerusalemwas surrounded by Jordanian forces who occupied the Old City after the 1948 War of Independence. They were an occupying power. There was a ban on Jews living or entering the Old City andtheHolysites.Therewasmuchdesecrationandneglect. Synagogues were demolished and the cemetery on the Mount of Olives plundered for its tombstones.ThebattleforJerusalemin1948wasthehardestfought,but thank G-d the Hagannah were able to withhold the enemy. West Jerusalem thrived for the first 19 years but it was not even half a cup without the Kotel and Old City.The journey on Highway 1 in the early days was often fraught with danger.Many of the armoured vehicles from that period could be seen until recently on the hillsides. A few remain. The building of the railway and the widening of the roads on the final entrance to Jerusalem have dramatically changed the landscape.Antique illustration of praying at the Place of Weeping,part of the Kotel in the Old City of Jerusalem.54'