Itongadol.- Jerusalem was always the capital of the Jewish people alone – and not of any other nation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday night during a Jerusalem Day address at Ammunition Hill.
Netanyahu: Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people alone
"This is our home and here we will stay," the prime minister added.
That said, Netanyahu stressed that Israel ensures that Jerusalem will be an open and tolerant city.
"Only under Israeli rule is the freedom of worship in Jerusalem guaranteed for all religions," he said. "Believers pray at their holy sites, not despite our control over the city but because of it."
The prime minister described Jerusalem as a "touchstone that puts us to the test: To what extent are we willing to hold onto it and defend it?"
Netanyahu vowed that Israel will never come to terms with terror and will hunt down its proponents. "We will fight incitement, which stems from denial of our attachment to Jerusalem and our heritage."
"Who opposes our presence in Jerusalem?" the prime minister asked. "Those who refuse to accept out right to live as a sovereign nation in our country. They regard us as a foreign weed that needs to be pulled out of this ground."
In a more conciliatory speech, President Reuven Rivlin said that, while Jerusalem for him is both "Zion and Zionism," it doesn\’t belong only to its history.
"It belongs first and foremost to its people, to all its residents – secular, religious and Haredi; Arabs and Jews," Rivlin said. "In united Jerusalem there is a west and an east. It has no step-children;"
"We must be honest with ourselves when we look at the massive gulf between the west of the city and the east," the president urged his audience. "We may have united the city, but we have barely begun the task of bringing about its economic and social unity.
"While western Jerusalem is achieving impressive progress and development, in the east we find neglect and despair."