When I was elected to serve as President of the State of Israel, mingled with the great joy experienced by myself and my wife Michal was a sense of the great responsibility placed upon my shoulders, along with the awareness that we would merit to live in Jerusalem, a city that had been planted deep in our hearts for so many years.
And indeed, every single morning for the past year we have woken up to a new day with the special sense of excitement that only living in Jerusalem can provide.
Yehuda Amichai, the poet whose very heart and soul were imbued with Jerusalem, wrote several lines in one of his poems that encapsulate something of my feelings:
"Jerusalem is a swing - sometimes I descend into its generations, and sometimes I ascend to the Heavens."
That, in truth, is Jerusalem - a city in which both poles exist, the diversity and polarity manage to coexist and together create its uniqueness.
In the whole world there is not another city like Jerusalem. A city that people long for, pray for, and pray to. A city that we lift up our eyes to. A city that belongs to all of us and yet a city that is sometimes a focal point of strife. A city that contains everything, a sense of sanctity but also bubbling over with daily life; a city of a million inhabitants in all their shades; a city whose name speaks peace but a city that has known so much war.
Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day symbolizes one of the founding events in the city's experience. Since the reunification of Jerusalem, the city has grown and developed in every possible way. While maintaining its sovereignty as the capital of Israel, it guarantees freedom of worship for members of all religions, and no less important - a joint way of life that does not eliminate diversity and tradition and illustrates the power of living together.
On this day of the city's holiday, which is also a national holiday for all of us, we wish for Jerusalem that it should preserve its uniqueness and character alongside the momentum of renewal and growth it has experienced in recent years. I am sure that the future that awaits Jerusalem and its people is as impressive and promising as its glorious past.