Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin were joined by thousands for the opening ceremony of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem at the Tower of David in the Old City, just a day before US President Donald Trump is scheduled to land in Jerusalem.
“Fifty years ago we returned to the heart of our capital and our country, and fifty years ago we did not conquer it, rather we liberated it,” Netanyahu said at the ceremony. “With the heroism of our fighters and the pride of our people, Jerusalem has once again been united, and therefore I say today to the world, in a clear and unequivocal voice that Jerusalem has always been and will always be the capital of Israel.”
“The Temple Mount and the Western Wall will always remain under Israeli sovereignty,” the prime minister continued. “But despite the courageous and unique relationship with Jerusalem, there are those who attempt to deny our undeniable bond with it and who brazenly portray us as foreigners in our own land in our own capital.”
“It is not our attachment to Jerusalem that demands an explanation, but the disgraceful attempt to expropriate our ties to Jerusalem and sovereignty in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu concluded.
Netanyahu further added that Israel’s presence in Jerusalem is an absolute right, reinforced by the fact that Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East and that the Jewish state protects all holy sites and allows freedom of worship in mutual respect and tolerance.
President Rivlin also expressed his commitment to the long term unification of the city as the “eternal capital of Israel.”
“Jerusalem is not the problem, Jerusalem is the solution. There are those dreaming of political solutions who attempt to hold for Jerusalem a ‘Judgement of Solomon’ and to tear the city limb from limb,” said Rivlin. “But those who speak of dividing the city will bring doom upon Jerusalem and its inhabitants.”
Rivlin added that “the Israeli government, which makes such a heavy and praiseworthy investment in Jerusalem, must direct its eyes to the reality in eastern Jerusalem in order to make a courageous and decisive decision to begin the long journey towards the implementation of city’s unification in practice.”
The ceremony was attended by recently accredited US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, along with numerous renowned Israeli musicians such as Idan Amedi, David D’Or, and Sarit Hadad, among others.