Israeli PM: We'll Build Everywhere in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is vowing Jerusalem will never be divided. He made the declaration Wednesday as Israelis celebrated Jerusalem Day, a holiday marking the capture of the Old City during the 1967 Six-Day War.
On June 7, 1967, Israeli paratroopers entered Jerusalem's Old City through the Lion's Gate and headed toward the Temple Mount. Their advance meant that for the first time in nearly 2,000 years, Jerusalem was reunited under Israeli sovereignty, with the Jewish people controlling the Old City and the Western Wall.
Many Jews and Christians call that battle a miracle and an historic turning point and that's why Israelis celebrate Jerusalem Day every year.
Thousands of Israelis flood the streets on Jerusalem Day, waving flags, dancing, and singing. It's just one outward sign of how important Jerusalem is to the Jewish people.
"Jerusalem is the heart of us and the heart of the world," Gideon Bashan told CBN News.
"Jerusalem is the place we connect to God," one young man from Kfar Saba near Tel Aviv said.
"It's important because it's our history," said an immigrant from the United States, who lives here with his four children, 17 grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. "This is our capital. This is what the world thinks of us is Yerushalayim."
Netanyahu declared Israel will continue to build everywhere in Jerusalem.
"Jerusalem was unified 47 years ago and it will never be re-divided," Netanyahu said during ceremonies at Ammunition Hill, where one of the most decisive battles for Jerusalem took place.
"Since that day, Jerusalem has developed," he continued. "It is prosperous and flourishing and we meet here [at Ammunition Hill] every year to ensure that this prosperity will be even greater, that the construction will be even broader and that it will flourish even more."
But Palestinians say they want Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. Senior Palestinian Authority official Abu Ala told CBN News there can be no peace agreement without Jerusalem.
"It is the second holy place for the Muslims in the world. For the Palestinians in addition to that, no availability of a Palestinian state without Jerusalem," he said.
Israel Police shut down the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day after Muslims harassed Jewish groups, some wanting to pray on the Temple Mount. But current rules forbid Jews, Christians, or any non-Muslims from praying at the site. Many believe because of this tension, the Temple Mount could become more and more of a flash point in the future.
In the meantime, Israelis celebrate the reunification of the city.