Photo Credit: Hillel Maeir / TPS
Fireworks at the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem mark the opening of a week of celebrations for the 50-year anniversary of the reunification of the holy city. May 21, 2017

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.

President Reuven Rivlin speaks at 50 year anniversary of Jerusalem reunification. PM Benjamin Netanyahu, US Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman, seated below. May 21 2017.

“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 Tower of David, alight in blue and white for the 50th anniversary of the reunification of the holy city of Jerusalem. May 21, 2017

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.

The Old City of Jerusalem ablaze in the glow of fireworks as a week of celebrations kicks off to mark a half century of reunification of the eternal capital of Israel and the Jewish People.

“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.’

Blue lights in the sky spell the name “Jerusalem” in Hebrew over the glowing walls of the Old City of Jerusalem below.

“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.”


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.