Participants in Flag March
Participants in Flag March Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stands behind his decision to approve the Flag March held on Sunday in honor of Jerusalem Day, and which passed through the Damascus Gate in accordance with the route that has existed for decades.

Bennett said, "We decided that the Flag March would go along its traditional route, and so it was. This year we broke records with over 50,000 participants who painted the city with the colors of our flag. It is moving and joyful to see all the people of Israel celebrating together. Am Yisrael Chai."

Last year, then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to approve the march through the Damascus Gate in light of Hamas' threats to launch missiles at Israel, as it indeed did in the end.

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, who visited the Jerusalem Police headquarters on Sunday, was also pleased with the decision to allow the march to go through the Damascus Gate. Barlev said that "the decision I made about a week and a half ago, on the recommendation of the police and other security officials, that the march be held this year as scheduled and on its regular route - it was a right and inevitable decision. If we succumb to the threats of terrorism not to wave Israeli flags in our capital, we will not know one day of quiet, and we will find ourselves caving in the future as well."

"I did not agree to this, so I was determined that the march would take place as normal. Even if the terrorist organizations try to challenge us in the coming hours and days, it is quite clear that surrendering to their threats will lead us to much more difficult situations, which will harm both our deterrence and our sovereignty," the minister added.

Meanwhile, MK Simcha Rothman from the Religious Zionist faction offered praise for the government, writing on Facebook, "When they deserve it, they deserve it. Hats off to the Israeli government, the Public Security Minister, the Prime Minister and the Alternate Prime Minister, the commissioner, and anyone who had a hand in the decision not to fold in the face of threats, and allow the Flag March, which connected the two parts of the city. And of course, well done to the police, the Border Police, the dancers and the celebrants. Chag Sameach."