“Jerusalem is the heart of the nation. It will never be divided," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said. He spoke on Tuesday night, at Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav Kook, to mark the anniversary of the capital’s reunification, 47-years ago. From 1948 and until the Six-Day War in 1967, the city was split between Israel and Jordan.
“My dear friends, 47 years ago Jerusalem was united. That is how it always was. And this is how it will always be," Netanyahu told students and rabbis at the yeshiva.
He spoke passionately about the Jewish connection to the city which dates back thousands of years. Israel’s firm conviction that Jerusalem must remain united under its sovereign control is one of the unresolved issues with the Palestinians. They claim that all the land over the pre-1967 lines, which passed into Israeli control, should be handed over to them to become the capital of their future state.
Netanyahu said that the yeshiva’s Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook was a great Zionist who understood the religious and political significance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people.
“Rabbi Kook believed that Zionism can not be disconnected from Judaism. “He believed that nationalism alone, without a connection to the eternal wells of Judaism, would not allow for the justification Israel’s existence or foster the unity needed for its existence,” Netanyahu said.
“Without spirit there is no material, without Torah there is no salt,” Netanyahu said. He added that this is the essence of the connection of the earthly and heavenly Jerusalem.
As prime minister, Netanyahu said, he worked to build and develop Jerusalem on earth.
Netanyahu recalled that when he served as prime minister in the 1990s, he built the east Jerusalem Jewish neighborhood of Har Homa.
Jerusalem envelopes that neighborhood, as well the city's technology parks, its factories, Yad VaShem, the Western Wall and Mt. of Olives where the Jewish ancestors are buried.
“We are safeguarding our heart, the nation’s heart, and we will never divide our heart,” Netanyahu said.
“Because it is the nation’s heart it must be connected to Israel’s eternal future,” the prime minister said.