Speaking ahead of the annual Jerusalem Day Israeli holiday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the international community for attempting to divide Jerusalem and for ignoring the Jewish people’s historical connection to the ancient city and the Temple Mount.
Ahead of this year’s Israeli holiday of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) on June 5, which celebrates the 49th anniversary of the re-unification of Israel’s capital after the Six Day War in 1967, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said that Israel’s historic ties to the Jerusalem-based Temple Mount and Western Wall sites do not need justifications or apologies and are unbreakable.
“It’s so absurd, so ridiculous; I can’t get over it,” Netanyahu said in a special Knesset meeting, relating to claims the Jews have no historic connection to Jerusalem. “Does anyone claim that the pyramids in Giza have no connection to the Egyptians? That the Acropolis in Athens has no connection to the Greeks? That the Coliseum in Rome has no connection to the Italians? It is ridiculous to try and sever the connection between the Temple Mount and the Jewish people.”
Netanyahu was criticizing the recent United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) resolution that ignored the historic Jewish connections to the Temple Mount and the Kotel (Western Wall). The prime minister reiterated that the Jewish ties to Jerusalem and its holy sites date back to King David’s time and through the First and Second Temple eras.
“Our forefathers visited the Temple Mount 3,800 years ago. The two temples of the Jewish people stood on the Temple Mount for one thousand years. King David built his palace in the City of David adjacent to the Temple Mount and made Jerusalem our capital 3,000 years ago. Ever since, the Jewish people have prayed in the direction of the Temple Mount and its image has decorated their homes – and [the world says] we have no connection with the Temple Mount?? The Jews’ ongoing affinity with the Temple Mount is a basic fact of history that only ignorant people, either by force or willingly, deny,” he said.
“These distortions of history are only reserved for the Jews,” he stressed.
Additionally, Netanyahu discussed Arab violence and incitement relating to the Temple Mount.
“Violence will not deter us or put our control over Jerusalem in doubt,” he said, adding, “Jerusalem deserves quiet. We cannot let anyone spark extremism.”
Netanyahu has repeatedly said that Israel will maintain the Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian “status quo” agreement for the Temple Mount, which includes a ban on Jewish prayer at the holy site.
‘Jerusalem, the Beating Heart of Our Nation’
He also praised Jerusalem’s “trend of development.”
“Jerusalem, the beating heart of our nation, our united capital, is advancing by leaps and bounds. We see this in the construction, the cranes, the roads, the institutions located here, in the factories,” he said.
“The best way to describe Jerusalem, is as an extremely old city, as it is thousands of years old, but one that is renewing its adolescence… I believe that something new is developing here. There are new energies here, and we are not only rehabilitating its spectacular ruins, we are advancing capabilities for innovation and opportunities that we never dreamed would be found in this city just years ago,” the premier stated.
An Israeli-ruled Jerusalem, Netanyahu explained, benefits all nations.
“The vast majority of the public understands that only democratic Israel can safeguard Jerusalem’s existence as an open city, one that has freedom for all religions. Freedom of religion is conditional on tolerance and tolerance only exists if there is genuine willingness to respect the holy places of the other side and the sanctity of religion first and foremost.”