By ISRAEL HAYOM—
“We are protecting the heart of the nation — we will never divide our heart,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday, marking the eve of the 47th Jerusalem Day — the day that celebrates the anniversary of the reunification of the capital — at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem.
“Because we believe that our capital is the heart of our nation, it has to be united,” Netanyahu said.
“We want to make sure that Jerusalem is built and that it flourishes. We have a lot of work ahead of us.
“Jerusalem is the Western Wall, Mount Zion, Mount Moriah. It is the eternity of Israel. There is a lot of anti-Semitism among the gentiles, but there is also a great deal of admiration, because we have a spark, we have soul, a special spirit. We are a people who have returned to their land and built a home,” he said.
Housing Minister Uri Ariel, who also attended the Mercaz Harav event, spoke against attempts to limit Israel’s efforts to build housing in settlements.
“There are currently no construction freezes, and there will not be in the future. We will not tolerate such things,” Ariel said.
“Between the Jordan River and the sea there will be one nation and it will be the state of Israel. We will not agree to construction delays or constraints — not in Jerusalem and not in Judea and Samaria. We will continue to build in all parts of our land.
“We will do our best to ensure that this state is in fact a Jewish state. With God’s help we will return to Gush Katif, to the wide open spaces of Sinai, and to all parts of Judea and Samaria, in our lifetime,” he said.
During a special Knesset session in honor of Jerusalem Day on Wednesday, Netanyahu reiterated his previous remarks, saying that “Jerusalem was reunited 47 years ago, and it will never be divided again.”
“Jerusalem is vivacious and it is blossoming. We have the future right here,” he said.
As he spoke, the Arab MKs left the Knesset hall in protest.
In response, Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said that “there will never be a permanent peace deal with the Palestinians unless sovereignty over Jerusalem is divided. When you hear the prime minister talk, it is clear why Netanyahu conducted peace talks for nine months without any results or purpose.”