Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin formally opened events Sunday night to mark the half-century anniversary of the reunification of the holy city of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish People.
America’s new Ambassador to Israel, David M. Friedman, was also present for the opening ceremonies.
“We have not occupied,” Netanyahu told those gathered at the foot of the Tower of David in the Old City, “We have liberated. “I say to the world in a calm, clear voice: Jerusalem was and always will be the capital of Israel.”
The prime minister underlined in his remarks that the Western Wall and the Temple Mount – the holiest sites in the Jewish faith – “will always remain under Israeli sovereignty.”
President Reuven Rivlin also spoke at the ceremony.
“Sometimes I hear them talking about ‘the Jerusalem problem,'” he said. “Jerusalem is not a problem. Jerusalem is the solution.
“There are dreamers of political solutions who are trying to make a complete trial, to cut the city organ by organ, but anyone who talks about Jerusalem as a surgeon speaks about the dissection of the city, is bringing a tragedy upon it and its people, and is returning it to basesness and misery.
“For many years now, they have been trying to undermine the foundations of Jerusalem. They have never stopped. Even now at the UNESCO conference they are trying to rewrite history, to say that ‘we have no connection to the city.’
“To all those who defy Jerusalem we have one answer: Jerusalem has been burned and broken and smashed and eulogized, but it rose and returned to its sons, opening its gates to thousands of believers of different faiths.”