Netanyahu: To Guard Jerusalem Is to Guard Our Heart


JERUSALEM, Israel -- Jerusalem is Israel's heart and it will never be divided again, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says.

Speaking at a Jerusalem Day event Tuesday evening at the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva (Torah seminary) in the city, Netanyahu said the 3,000-year-old capital of the Jewish people will never be divided again.

"Jerusalem is Israel's eternity," Netanyahu said. "It is our heart, and we are guarding our heart the heart of the nation. We will never divide our heart," he said.

In 2008, Mercaz HaRav was the site of a horrific terror attack by an Arab who gunned down eight students as they studied in the school library. A former student and off-duty IDF officer heard the gunshots from the street and using his own weapon, shot and killed the gunman. Hamas officials praised the attack.

Six-Day War Marks Reunification

Forty-seven years ago, the reunification of Jerusalem began in earnest. Jerusalem Day marks the battle between Israeli and Jordanian forces during the 1967 Six-Day Way, which ended Jordan's 19-year occupation of the capital.

Today, despite pressure from many world leaders to divide the city as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians, Netanyahu says it won't happen.

As Israelis mark Jerusalem Day Wednesday, there is indeed much to celebrate.

The capital boasts increasing numbers of young adults moving to the city and record numbers of planned residential units, the most in 20 years, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics.  

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat says Jerusalemites "feel the youthful energy coursing through the city."

"Jerusalem is a modern, attractive and leading city, which attracts young people who enjoy the culture, sport, leisure, excellent education and quality of life that exists only in Jerusalem," said Barkat, who was re-elected last October for a second five-year term.

"We are continuing to develop the city, together with the residents, and are investing all of our resources in developing Israel's capital for future generations," he said. "It is a great privilege."

Barkat, a successful hi-tech entrepreneur in his own right, has led a savvy staff to invest municipal resources in educational, cultural, housing and employment opportunities, with very encouraging results. The capital is growing and prospering.

In 2013, some 7 million people attended cultural events and festivals in Jerusalem and 4 million tourists stayed in the city's hotels.

Revenue from Jerusalem's hi-tech sector was nearly 12 billion shekels and construction of close to 4 million square meters (yards) of new businesses is projected to add 100,000 new jobs.

Residents of the city make up 75 percent of the work force and Jerusalem is leading the country in tourism and fast becoming a center for sports and cultural events.

According to the census bureau, Jerusalemites are among the nation's most optimistic citizens, looking toward a bright future for themselves and their families.

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