Netanyahu: ‘A struggle is now being waged for the heart of Jerusalem’

Netanyahu referred to the “forces of intolerance” and evinced his support for the Israeli police as they battle to restore order in Jerusalem.

By World Israel News Staff

“A struggle is now being waged for the heart of Jerusalem,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, addressing recent Arab violence plaguing the city. He made his remarks at a state memorial ceremony for Ethiopian Jews who perished on their way to Israel.

“It is not a new struggle. It is the struggle between intolerance and tolerance, between law-breaking violence and law and order. This struggle is not new because it has been waged, in effect, over Jerusalem and the heart of Jerusalem for hundreds of years, since the rise of the three monotheistic faiths,” he said.

On Monday, which is Jerusalem Day, an annual celebration of the unification of the capital during the Six Day War, Arabs rioted on the Temple Mount and in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. They threw stones and launched fireworks at police. They also attacked civilians, in one case, causing a driver to crash.

Netanyahu emphasized in his speech that when Jerusalem was in the hands of others, freedom of worship was restricted, but “only under Israeli sovereignty since 1967, have we witnessed a prolonged, stable and safe period in which we have been working to ensure freedom of worship and tolerance for all.”

Presumably referring to the Palestinian provocateurs, he said, “This is not a mission that we can carry out without conflict from time to time with those same forces of intolerance that want to expropriate our rights – first of all our rights, but not just ours – on the Temple Mount and other holy sites.”

“We insist on ensuring the rights of everyone, this occasionally requires taking a strong stand as the officers of the Israel Police, and our security forces, are doing at the moment.

“We back them in this just struggle. Of course, these things are being expressed erroneously and misleadingly in the global media. In the end truth will win but we must constantly reiterate it,” Netanyahu said.

Israel has banned Jews going up to the Temple Mount during Jerusalem Day as the result of the violence, an apparent win for the rioters. However, it hasn’t cancelled a flags parade, one of the staple events of the holiday, in which thousands stream through the Old City carrying Israeli flags. Police estimated 30,000 will take part.