Netanyahu at Jerusalem Day ceremony 370.
(photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)
Jerusalem will remain the united capital of the Jewish people, Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday at the ceremony on Ammunition Hill marking 45
years since the city’s unification.
Netanyahu recounted recent visits to
centuries-old synagogues in Prague and Amsterdam, pointing out that they, like
synagogues around the world, face Jerusalem, symbolizing the Jewish people’s
past and its home for the future.
“We will protect Jerusalem, because
Israel without Jerusalem is like a body without a heart,” the prime minister
said. “On this hill, 45 years ago, the united heart of our people began to beat
again, with full power. Our heart will never be divided again.”
on a united Jerusalem would show weakness to our enemies, he explained, saying
that a body that would give up its heart could not fight for
IDF soldiers fought like lions 45 years ago, because they were
fighting for Jerusalem, he said, and they changed history forever.
generation had a great privilege – we saw the words of the prophets come true,”
he declared. “We saw the rise of Zion, the return of Jewish sovereignty in the
Land of Israel, the in-gathering of exiles, and our return to
Netanyahu called for the “revolution” to be
“This is the place in which our past was revealed and our
future is built,” he said. “We developed Jerusalem in the north, south, east and
west, and we will keep building our capital.”
He concluded, “We will make
sure Jerusalem’s golden light will shine on our people, and spread the light of
Jerusalem to the whole world.”
President Shimon Peres called for peace
among nations and religions living in Jerusalem, recalling the many battles in
the Holy City’s history.
“In six days, our soldiers, with their bravery
and heroism, contributed a great chapter in the history of Israel’s security,”
Peres recounted. “The quick war [in 1967] amazed the world.”
president said Israel had not been looking for war, but Arab leaders had
promised to bring an end to Israel, and the IDF fought three wars in six days –
against Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
“Those who wanted to defeat us were
themselves defeated,” he said. “Here on Ammunition Hill was the battle on the
first night of the war, where the historic echo that came from the prayers of
our forefathers and our longing for redemption rose.”
The president spoke
about 22 empires’ attempts to conquer Jerusalem over 4,000 years, burning its
houses and taking down its strongholds.
“No other place in the world is
like Jerusalem,” he said. “It is the cradle of the three main monotheistic
At the same time, he added, Jerusalem is the capital of the
Jewish people, a source of inspiration and identity throughout
Israel recognized and respected Jerusalem residents and visitors
of all religions, protecting their holy places and granting them freedom of
religion and worship, Peres said.
“Prayers from the Western Wall, the
calls of the muezzin and church bells can all be heard without censorship,” the
president said, but added that there was still violence in the Holy
“Jerusalem hopes for peace, and we must do everything to make it
come true,” he said.