Israel on Wednesday marked the 43rd anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967. The date is celebrated according to the Hebrew calendar, with the 28th day of the month of Iyar being the date that Israeli forces took control of the eastern half of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount.
Knesset members and Jerusalem municipal officials visited schools throughout the city to teach students about Zionism and Israel's connection to Jerusalem. Free tours of the Old City and other important landmarks were also offered, and the traditional Jerusalem Day parade made its way through the center of town.
In his Jerusalem Day address at the famous Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that the Jews are more connected to Jerusalem than any people is to their own capital, and that no foreign pressure will ever change that.
"We never gave up on the connection to Jerusalem – not when the Temple was destroyed for the first or second time and not afterwards," said Netanyahu. "The struggle for Jerusalem is a struggle for the truth. We are building it, will continue to build it and to develop it."
Netanyahu's remarks and the jubilant Jerusalem Day celebrations come amid increased US-led foreign pressure for Israel to deny Jews the right to build in those parts of the city claimed by the Palestinians.
Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat insist there is no Jewish building freeze, though unnamed officials have revealed that it has become nearly impossible to obtain new building permits as a result of the American pressure.