Israeli lawmakers, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, attended the Jerusalem Day ceremony on Ammunition Hill, marking the 51st anniversary of the city’s reunification under Israeli control.

Jerusalem's Old City

Jerusalem’s Old City Photo credit: Flash 90

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and other lawmakers attended the main ceremony marking Jerusalem Day, kicking off a highly eventful week in the city.

Netanyahu, who came from a gala event organized by the Israeli Foreign Ministry ahead of tomorrow’s opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, hailed US President Donald Trump for his decision. “He recognized a simple historic truth, which takes a lot of effort to deny,” Netanyahu said. “He spoke the truth: 3,000 years have passed since King David named Jerusalem as the capital of his Kingdom of Judah.”

“Through the generations, we knew Jerusalem was rightfully ours. We remained faithful to her. There’s no other nation in the world that can claim Jerusalem was ever its capital apart from us – because Jerusalem is the capital of Israel forever.”

“My generation still remembers the battle calls of our enemies in the days preceding the Six Day War,” Netanyahu added. “They boasted that they were going to throw us into the sea, but we all know how it ended – their threats and their arrogance did not help them. There are still those who call for our destruction today, and we will shove away these murderous intentions.”

Rivlin, a native of Jerusalem, called Trump’s decision “a bold move” and spoke of the city’s diverse population. “Let us remember that Jerusalem is a microcosm of our ability to co-exist on this land: religious, ultra-Orthodox and secular people, Jews and Arabs,” he said. “The unification of Jerusalem is also a commitment to treat all of its residents equally.”

Meanwhile, the traditional “flag march” was held in the city under heavy security. Clashes with Palestinians erupted when participants paraded through the city’s Muslim Quarter holding Israeli flags.