Jerusalem Day celebrations were held on Thursday evening at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, one of the preeminent and most veteran religious Zionist yeshivas in Israel, founded by Israel's first Chief Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook.

As part of the event, a solemn evening prayer of thanksgiving for the liberation of Jerusalem and its reunification 56 years ago was held with the participation of yeshiva students, after which a series of speakers delivered speeches in honor of the capital of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara attended the celebrations, as did Chief Rabbis David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef, Rabbi Dov Lior, yeshiva deans and Chief rabbis of cities throughout the country, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, Economy Minister Nir Barkat, Jerusalem Affairs Minister Meir Porush, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, and other ministers and MKs. MK Michal Woldiger, Dep. Jerusalem Mayor Hagit Moshe, MK Limor Son Har Melech were greeted warmly and joined Sara Netanyahu in the women's section. Renowned singer Avraham Fried was accompanied by a band that included famed Israeli clarinetist Mousa Berlin.

Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, head of the yeshiva, spoke, addressing the Prime Minister and encouraging him to stand strong to protect Israel's security, traditions and Jewish identity. Rabbi Leo Dee, whose wife and two daughters were shot in cold blood while driving in the Jordan Valley, attended the event where he joined the joyous dance and song, and was invited to present the gift the yeshiva prepared for the Prime Minister - a framed copy of the words in which Rabbi Kook eulogized his friend Rabbi Natan Millikovsky, Netanyahu's grandfather.

Netanyahu was greeted with applause and singing during his speech.

"This special meeting has been missing for me and my wife Sara in recent years and we are so happy to be here with you again on the occasion of the holiday of our capital. We have never left this house and we are always here. Being here on Jerusalem’s holiday is a special celebration. Jerusalem has been wrapped in blue and white, with the flag parade which marched in full force," Netanyahu began.

He noted that "despite the threats and because of the threats, I ordered the parade to be held along its route, and as it should be. The thousands of Israeli flags that were flown in it are the answer to the terrorist organizations. You will not defeat us and you will not frighten us. Anyone who tries to harm us will pay the full price. His blood be on his own head."

Netanyahu turned directly to the members of the coalition amid the disputes over the state budget and said, "We promised to return the national honor to the people of Israel and we kept that promise. I want to say something to my friends in the coalition: We do not have and will not have a better government, a national government, a strong government, that cares for the heritage of Israel, for the settlement in the Land of Israel, for the people of Israel and to the future of Israel."

"The time has come to stop threatening, stop boycotting, stop climbing onto your high horse. Everyone should work together to pass the budget for the sake of the unity of Israel, for the Land of Israel and for the Torah of Israel," Netanyahu said.

Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Jewish Tradition Meir Porush responded to the Prime Minister and said, "I want to comment on the things that were said here earlier by the honorable Prime Minister. Indeed, this government is better than many governments that have served here in the past. But, the commitment to the world of the Torah, the tradition of Israel, to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, should also be in actions and not just in words."

"If this is indeed the case, we should vote in favor of the budget, maybe the good news will come out of here tonight," Minister Porush added.

Since the liberation of the city in 1967, the event at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva has been the center of the Jerusalem Day celebrations, attended by heads of government, ministers, IDF officers and public figures alongside hundreds of participants from all over the country. In fact, until security considerations put a stop to it, the entire yeshiva student body and its rabbis, led by the RoshYeshiva, would dance all the way to the Western Wall at midnight each year.