Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat spoke at the special Jerusalem Day ceremony Wednesday, honoring 47 years since the reunification of the Holy City.
"Jerusalem was unified 47 years ago and it will never be redivided," Netanyahu said. "Since that day, Jerusalem has developed; it is prosperous and flourishing."
Netanyahu committed, in his remarks, to keep focused on Jerusalem's future - despite international and leftist pressure to undermine its importance.
"We meet here every year in order to ensure that this prosperity will be even greater, that the construction will be even broader and that it will flourish even more," he said "We are committed to a rebuilt, greater and developing Jerusalem as a historical mandate of the Jewish People."
Several left-wing MKs - particularly from Meretz - have voiced criticism over an initiative to make Jerusalem Day a national holiday. Netanyahu fired back at the criticism, stating that the day has a high level of historical significance.
"I have heard that there are those who would like to cancel today as a national holiday," Netanyahu noted. "I say that this is not just a national holiday; this is a historic, national miracle. The Jewish People will always see to the rebuilt and greater Jerusalem."
"Jerusalem is the soul of Israel"
Jerusalem's mayor, Nir Barkat, also spoke at the Jerusalem Day ceremony, where he placed an emphasis on the unique role of the city in Jewish and Israeli identity.
"The first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, said that 'if there is a soul to Israel - Jerusalem is the soul of Israel'," Barkat noted. "Jerusalem has become once again, in recent years, not only Israel's soul - but Israel's beating heart."
"Jerusalem is once again becoming increasingly relevant to the people of Israel," he added. "The Zionist movement is back again in Jerusalem, where young people are taking responsibility for the direction and influence of the Jewish people in the future."
"We can see that young people are beginning to believe in Jerusalem again," the mayor reflected. "The polls reflect that Jerusalem is a city where the residents are most satisfied in this country."
"On this note, I can say today that more than ever, each of us can say with pride: I am happy to be a Jerusalemite on Jerusalem Day."