"Temple Mount in our hands changed the course of history"

Full text of Knesset Speaker's speech at Knesset event: Israel's victory in 6 Day War changed Jewish and world history for the better.

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Yuli Edelstein,

Yuli Edelstein at Congress/Knesset event
Yuli Edelstein at Congress/Knesset event
צילום: איציק הררי, דוברות הכנסת

"The Temple Mount is in our hands."

These words were uttered by Colonel Motta Gur fifty years ago today, on June 7th, 1967.

This sentence changed the course of history, excited the world, and touched the heart of a nine-year-old boy in the Soviet Union, behind the Iron Curtain.

That boy was me.

Thanks to these words I am standing here today – as a Jew, as an Israeli, and as the Speaker of the Knesset.

These words echoed around the world to millions of Jews, who rediscovered their ties to the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

In the Soviet Union, Jews signed up for aliyah. Many, like me, were denied that right.

The ancient call of Moses –

"Let my people go!" – echoed in the halls of the US Congress where you sit today.

I am eternally grateful to your colleagues in Congress in the 1970s and 80s. You allowed me to reach this moment, this day, and this event.

In the United States, too, many Jews left the comfort of their home to realize the Jewish dream. Some join us here this evening to celebrate this special anniversary.

Ephraim Greenfield, heard about the Six-Day War and jumped on a plane to Israel to volunteer.

He fell in love with the country and returned here to study at Hebrew University for a Ph.D.

After graduation he co-founded Ophir Optronics in 1976, one of the country's early hi-tech successes.

Since 1967, Jerusalem has again become a spiritual center, where members of all religions may practice their faith freely.

Where the sounds of Jewish prayer mingle with the voice of the muezzin and church bells.

Where pilgrims come to seek G-d in synagogues, mosques and churches.

This is Jerusalem. Reunified fifty years ago today, never to be re-divided ///

Join me on a tour of Jerusalem with an open Bible in your hands.

Find the pages with the prophecies of comfort by Zechariah and Jeremiah.

You will see men and women of ripe old age sitting in the streets of Jerusalem. You will hear the voices of brides and grooms.

You will also find a city that has become a center of arts, education, and cutting-edge technology.

Jerusalem, like no other place in the world, bridges the ancient and the modern!

Dear friends,

Your country was settled by pilgrims building a "city upon the hill".

A just society based on the values that the Hebrew Prophets preached right here thousands of years ago.

These same values are the basis of the special bond between our peoples and countries.

They are the real reason why Israel has always enjoyed broad bipartisan support in Congress and in every state capital.

Thank you, Speaker Ryan, for your continued leadership in this regard, and thank you all for your friendship.

Fifty years ago, Israeli paratroopers touched the Western Wall, the very stones,

where the President recently prayed.The first sitting US President to visit the Western Wall.

For the sake of Jerusalem, let us not remain silent. Let us promise that support for unified Jerusalem remains high on both sides of the aisle, across the political spectrum, and throughout the United States.

Looking around the world, and especially at this region, one thing becomes crystal clear:

Only Israeli sovereignty will ensure that the city's holy sites remain open, free, and safe for members of every religion.

I therefore call upon the Administration–

Follow the lead set by the House and Senate.

Recognize Jerusalem as the official and unquestioned capital of the State of Israel.

Bring your embassy to our capital.

The fiftieth anniversary of re-unification –

is the appropriate occasion to take these important, just, and historic steps.

I am sure other countries will follow your lead.

Let us pledge together:

"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."

יום ירושלים שמח!

Happy Jerusalem day to you all.