Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat reproached Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday after the Turkish leader criticized Israel as a "racist and discriminatory" state.
"It is surprising that Erdogan, who leads a state that occupied Jerusalem for 400 years, wants to preach to us about how to manage our city," Barkat said. "Unlike during the Turkish occupation," he continued, "Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty is a flourishing, open and free city that allows freedom of religion and worship for all. In recent years, record numbers of Muslims have visited the Temple Mount and held prayers, exercising their absolute freedom of religion under Israeli sovereignty."
"The connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem dates back more than 3000 years. Jerusalem is and will remain our eternal, united capital forever. In every corner of the city, we see Jewish roots - from the time of the First and Second Temples, to the Muslim period and the Ottoman conquest," he added
Barkat also issued an invitation to Erdogan to visit Jerusalem, in order to "see for himself" how the city has prospered under the Israeli government.
"As we celebrate 50 years of reunited Jerusalem, I invite Erdogan to visit our city and to be amazed by the reality on the ground - a reality that has changed only for the better since the Turks ruled here," the mayor said.
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