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PM Netanyahu Addresses the Knesset in Honor of Jerusalem Day

June 3, 2016
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PM Netanyahu addresses the Knesset

PM Netanyahu addresses the Knesset

Friday, 03 June 2016 | Editor’s note: Yom Yerushalim (Jerusalem Day) will be celebrated on Sunday, 05 June. The following is an excerpt of the address Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered to the Knesset on 01 June. “The 49th anniversary of the reunification of Israel’s capital finds Jerusalem in a clear trend of development, prosperity and accomplishments that inspire pride. There are many issues and challenges that we must address, and we are and will continue to do so.

“Numerous crowns have been placed on Jerusalem’s head, from Biblical times through the present day. There is a reason it creates a unifying experience between generations. We, the adults, remember the Jerusalem that was divided until the Six Day War. We remember what was on the other side, when Israel did not have security control beyond the barbed wire fences, in the minefields, the no-man’s land. The younger people here were born into a different era. They visit the battlegrounds, especially Ammunition Hill. They read about the heroism of our fighters who fought the most justified of defensive wars and achieved a glorious victory. They hear the stories of divided Jerusalem, which for 19 years was the front line and a frontier town. That is what it was.

“Older Jerusalemites, children like me, remember them firing, always firing from east to west. We did not fire eastward. The enemy was literally a stone’s throw from us, and that is what happens when we do not have security control in the field. Of course, we do not want to return to that reality. I do not think that there is room for any apologetics. We do not need to make excuses for our being in Jerusalem.

“Since our very beginning as a people, our existence was tied to Jerusalem, and the awareness of this privilege is the cornerstone of our national experience and our Zionist faith. Moreover, the vast majority of the public understands that only democratic Israel can safeguard Jerusalem’s existence as an open city, one that has freedom for all religions. Freedom of religion is conditional on tolerance and tolerance only exists if there is genuine willingness to respect the holy places of the other side and the sanctity of religion first and foremost.

“We have, over the past year, witnessed incidents of incitement and extremism in relation to the Temple Mount. Claims were made against us that we allegedly sought to harm the al-Aqsa Mosque, something which was not and will never be true.

“UNESCO, the organization charged by the UN to preserve the world’s heritage recently determined that the Temple Mount has no connection to the Jewish people. We have no connection with the Temple Mount. This claim is so absurd and so outrageous that I cannot get over it. Not only is it ridiculous, but this absurdity and this lie are making the rounds the world over – we have no connection with the Temple Mount.

“Our forefathers visited the Temple Mount 3,800 years ago. The two temples of the Jewish people stood on the Temple Mount for one thousand years. King David built his palace in the City of David adjacent to the Temple Mount and made Jerusalem our capital 3,000 years ago, and ever since, the Jewish people have prayed in the direction of the Temple Mount and its image has decorated their homes – and we have no connection with the Temple Mount. The Jews’ ongoing affinity with the Temple Mount is a basic fact of history that only ignorant people, either by force or willingly, deny.

“I must say here: These distortions of history are only reserved for the Jews. Does anyone claim that the pyramids in Giza have no connection to the Egyptians? That the Acropolis in Athens has no connection to the Greeks? That the Coliseum in Rome has no connection to the Italians? It is ridiculous to try and sever the connection between the Temple Mount and the Jewish people.

“Of course, the truth is the complete opposite. We, the people of Israel, have a primal claim on Jerusalem. Our roots here are deeper than any other peoples, and the same is true about the Temple Mount. Jerusalem was ours and it will be ours.

“We are entering the jubilee year of the unification of Jerusalem. We still have a great many plans up our sleeves and many initiatives to advance the capital from end to end. We will continue to ensure that Jerusalem, our united capital, will be open and prosperous, with its face to the future, to coexistence and to peace.

Judah will exist forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation…” [Joel 3:20].

For he has strengthened the bars of your gates, and blessed your children in your midst” [Psalm 147:13].

Posted on June 3, 2016

Source: (Excerpt of article published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 01 June, 2016. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Knesset Spokesperson