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Israeli lawmakers dedicate E. Jerusalem Jewish homes

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli lawmakers attended the dedication of a Jewish apartment complex in a Palestinian neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem.

The ceremony Wednesday marked the completion of apartments for 110 religious Jewish families in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood of Jerusalem, located on the Mount of Olives.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat attended the dedication. Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan and Education Minister Gideon Saar of the Likud Party also attended.

The recently completed apartments are the second phase of a project that began eight years ago with the dedication of 50 apartments in the Maale Hazeitim enclave.

The project reportedly is funded by American billionaire Irving Moskowitz.

"Israel without Jerusalem or Zionism without Zion are like a body without a soul," Erdan said in a speech at the dedication. "We, as the government of Israel, are committed to strengthening Jerusalem and keeping it whole and united, and continuing to build in all parts of the city."

The Palestinians claim eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, which it plans to ask the United Nations General Assembly to declare in September.

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