On June 29, 1967, the city of Jerusalem was reunited as Israeli forces removed the barricades separating East Jerusalem, including the Old City, from the Israeli sector.
Israel captured East Jerusalem on the third day of the Six Day War. East Jerusalem includes the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest shrine.
Between 1948 and the Israeli victory in 1967, walls divided Jerusalem. The city had been part of the British Mandate until the British withdrew in 1948.
After Israel declared its independence, Arab armies immediately invaded the new state, and the Old City came under heavy shelling. By the end of the war, Israeli troops held West Jerusalem and Jordan held East Jerusalem, including the Old City.
Upon its reunification in 1967, Israel offered the people of East Jerusalem the opportunity to become Israeli citizens, but most Arabs refused. In 1980, the Israeli Parliament passed a law which guarantees protection for the holy places of all religions in Jerusalem, and continued free access to the sites.
Christian pilgrims flock to Jerusalem during Easter. Moslems consider the city to be their third holiest shrine after Mecca and Medina.
Its status as a unified metropolis and Israel's capital remains unrecognized by most foreign nations; most countries maintain their embassies in Tel-Aviv.