Netanyahu: ‘We will continue to build’ in Jerusalem


JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel will continue to build in Jerusalem, Benjamin Netanyahu said during the state ceremony marking Jerusalem Day.

"We will continue to build and be built in Jerusalem," the prime minister said Wednesday during the ceremony on Ammunition Hill. "We will continue to develop, plan and create in Jerusalem. We cannot develop in a divided city."

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.

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, participated in the annual flag march through Jerusalem late Wednesday afternoon, ending at the Western Wall.

One group of youth participating in the march accidentally entered the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat and was pelted with stones by local residents.

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.

On Tuesday evening, Netanyahu addressed a Jerusalem Day rally at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem.

"The struggle for Jerusalem is a struggle for the truth," he said. "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. We never ever relinquished that bond."

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."

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