Israelis celebrate Jerusalem Day

By Jessica Elgot, May 12, 2010
Schoolchildren celebrate Jerusalem Day

Schoolchildren celebrate Jerusalem Day

Israelis have celebrated Jerusalem Day, marking 43 years since the unification of Jerusalem in 1967, when east Jerusalem was captured from the Jordanians.

Thousands of police have been mobilised in Jerusalem, as Jewish nationalists prepared a celebratory march across the city. Tensions were high in the east of the city as most Palestinians still view the area as a future capital of an independent Palestine.

An open air concert was held to celebrate the day, with American band, Kool and the Gang, performing.

In a speech at the capital’s Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said: “The truth is that Jerusalem is our lifeblood. We have an indissoluble connection to it. Thousands of years, three thousand years.

“We have never relinquished this connection. We didn’t relinquish it when the Temple was destroyed the first time, we didn’t relinquish it when the temple was destroyed a second time.”

“There is an attempt to portray us as foreign invaders, as conquerors, as a people who have no connection to this place, and I say: No other nation has such a connection to its capital.”

He added: "The Jews were the majority in Israel until the ninth century, and lost that majority 200 years after Arab rule – and even then they did not give up.”

“Not a year went by in the diaspora that we did not say ‘Next year in Jerusalem.’”

Last updated: 1:10pm, May 12 2010