President Peres speaking at Ammunition Hill on J'lem Day 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
President Shimon Peres retained his optimism on the chances of peace in our
times, in a Wednesday speech at the official ceremony marking Jerusalem Day on
“This is the Jerusalem that seeks peace and is open to
the prayers of the faithful from all faiths,” he said.
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knew siege and prevented access to its holy sites, was opened widely by Israel
and breathed the air of freedom. The uniqueness of Jerusalem was restored and
returned to be the center of Jewish statehood – the capital of the State of
“I believe in the eternity of Jerusalem. I believe that
Jerusalem will know true peace soon,” the president said.
In his address
at the ceremony, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu drew on childhood memories of
a divided Jerusalem to emphasize that the city must never be split
“From Sanhedria in the north to Talpiot in the south, the city was
constantly under fire, or the threat of fire,” he said.
“A scar passed
through the center of the city – of barbed wire, no-man’s-land, mines, waste –
it was a dump.”
“We won’t go back to a divided city, to a cut and wounded
city, because the day Jerusalem was redeemed, the day the city was unified – the
wound healed, and the scar disappeared,” Netanyahu said.
problems and challenges, but we won’t revert to those days.”
day, over 100 people gathered to honor the soldiers who fell in the Six Day War
at a ceremony at Mount Herzl.
“There’s a double meaning to this day,”
Yaffa Cohen Beriro, who lost her husband, Binyamin Zeev, in the battle for Khan
Yunis, told The Jerusalem Post
after the ceremony.
“There’s the pain of
the loss, but also the happiness of what happened. [A victory like] the Six Day
War is something that has never happened in any other country in the world,” she
Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger spoke about the strong emotions
of the day that still echo 44 years later.
“I will never forget the
picture of my father, sitting and listening to the radio, and sobbing as if
something had happened to him,” Metzger said.
“We need to be sensitive
enough so the world knows and understands that you can’t move the origin of
Judaism and Zionism, that it is part of Israel and the capital of the country.
But on the other side, there are citizens who are not Jewish and they have
joined the Israeli experience and we are obligated to them,” Knesset speaker
Reuven Rivlin told the Post at Mount Herzl.
“We need to do a lot more for
this part of Jerusalem, we aren’t doing enough, especially with infrastructure
and giving them equal treatment.”