Netanyahu: Israel will continue to build Jerusalem and keep it united

Marking Jerusalem Day, PM says ‘Israel without Jerusalem is like a body without a heart’; thousands of religious-Zionist youths march through the city and Arab neighborhoods.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday during a ceremony marking Jerusalem Day that the Israeli capital will never be divided and that building in Jerusalem will continue.

Netanyahu during Jerusalem Day - AP - May 20, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a special cabinet meeting marking Jerusalem Day at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem - Photo by AP

“We will protect Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. “Israel without Jerusalem is like a body without a heart. Our heart will never be divided again.”

“A nation willing to sacrifice it’s heart will convince its enemies that it is willing to give up on everything,” he warned, and said that he does not believe that abandoning the Temple Mount to a different power will preserve the freedom of religion.

“I know there are people who say that there will be peace if we only divide Jerusalem. I don’t believe this, ” he said. “We will continue to build Jerusalem.”

Meanwhile, thousands of Israeli youths, mostly members of the religious Zionism movement, marked Jerusalem Day on Sunday with a controversial Flag March through the city.

Some local confrontations broke out between the Jewish participants and local Palestinians near the Damascus Gate, but the police intervened and separated the belligerent sides.

15 persons were arrested during the day’s events; ten participants who chanted raciest chants and five Palestinians hauled objects at them.

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By Barak Ravid and Nir Hasson