Bennett: We can't compromise on a united J'lem

Edelstein at Knesset plenum: All should be able to pray wherever they want in J'lem; hope issues to resolve by next Jerusalem Day.

By
May 8, 2013 18:17
2 minute read.
Israeli youth celebrate outside the Damascus gate on Jerusalem Day

Israeli youth celebrate on Jerusalem day 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Jerusalem is a city of three religions, and all must be able to pray in the way and place they want, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said on Wednesday.

Speaking in a celebratory plenum session, Edelstein cited disputes over women’s prayer at the Kotel and Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, and expressed hope that they will be solved by next Jerusalem Day.

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“All of us must make sure that the city of three religions, which we are proud of for having freedom of worship, should be open to every Jew in every place that they want to pray,” he stated.

“Sometimes there are limitations, and we should be sensitive, but our joint goal should be to allow this freedom, because without it, we will not have one Jerusalem.”


Jerusalem Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett recounted the battles for Jerusalem in the time of King David and in the War of Independence.

“[First prime minister David] Ben-Gurion was told to give up on Jerusalem [in the 1948 War of Independence] and save the rest of the country, but he refused and sent 28,000 soldiers to Jerusalem,” Bennett said.

“He succeeded and Jerusalem was saved. His decision wasn’t rational, but Jerusalem doesn’t work rationally.”

Bennett emphasized that “Jerusalem will be united forever; there is no other Jerusalem.”

MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud Beytenu), representing the coalition, said that Jerusalem makes Israel look in the mirror.

“We see in this mirror the face of our country and Zionism. Jerusalem is split by many different groups with great gaps between them,” he said. “All the identities and conflicts come together in Jerusalem. I love Jerusalem, not just because of its meaning over generations and my identity as a Jew. I love Jerusalem because it reflects Israeli society. Jerusalem reflects the fragility of Israeli society.”

Rivlin expressed satisfaction with Jerusalem “rejecting its division, because special connections were created here and population groups mix with each other.”

MK Hilik Bar (Labor) called Jerusalem a “city of peace,” and called for all its residents to live together harmoniously and with tolerance.

Bar also spoke out against hatred between religious and secular people.

“Haredim protected the Torah, which protected our unity since the exodus from Egypt,” he explained, “but I have what to say to haredim, too. The deal where the wealthy support the Torah studiers cannot work today, in our small State of Israel.”

Meretz leader Zehava Gal- On wrote on Facebook that MKs are “glorifying Jerusalem, but nobody wants to face reality.”

“In east Jerusalem there are 10 kindergartens, as opposed to 173 in the west, even though Arab residents are 40 percent of the city’s population,” she said. “We cannot ignore the fact that Jerusalem is already divided. Let’s use this division in a peace treaty with the Palestinians, and give Jerusalem the chance to be a better city for residents of both sides.”

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