JERUSALEM ““ “The struggle for Jerusalem is a struggle for the truth,” Benjamin Netanyahu said in remarks in honor of Jerusalem Day.
“The truth is that Jerusalem is the very air that our people breathe. We have an unbreakable bond with Jerusalem – one that has lasted thousands of years; over 3,000 years to be precise,” the Israeli prime minister said Tuesday night at the start of a Jerusalem Day rally at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem. “We never ever relinquished that bond.”
Jerusalem Day marks the date on the Hebrew calendar that Israeli forces captured eastern Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War, thus reuniting the city.
Netanyahu said that under Israel, all religions have free access to Jerusalem.
“We are not banishing anyone, we are not removing anyone, because the second half of the truth is that no other people has the connection the people of Israel have with Jerusalem and Zion,” he said. “However, there was also no other people that allowed other religions freedom of worship and freedom of access to the holy places other than the people of Israel. When we renewed our hold over all parts of the city, we renewed freedom of worship and allowed the members of all religions to pray and follow their faith under Israeli sovereignty.”
More than 2,500 police officers and soldiers were deployed around Jerusalem on Tuesday night and Wednesday during ceremonies and events to mark Jerusalem Day.
Thousands of people, including yeshiva and seminary students from throughout the country, were set to take part in the annual flag march through Jerusalem late Wednesday afternoon, ending at the Western Wall.
Also Wednesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in Tokyo during an official visit to Japan that “normal life” would continue in Jerusalem.
“There is no agreement about freezing building in east Jerusalem and normal life in Jerusalem will continue as in every other city in Israel,” he told reporters.