(JNS.org) Israeli President Reuven Rivlin kicked off the 50th annual Jerusalem Day celebrations at the Western Wall Tuesday evening, marking the milestone anniversary of the reunification of the holy city by Israeli forces during the 1967 Six-Day War.
“We will always insist on Jerusalem. There never has been, there will never be any other reality. Here, in these stones, beats the heart of the Jewish people,” Rivlin said.
Rivlin, whose family has lived in Jerusalem since 1809, said the city “is the heart of the state of Israel, and the Kotel (Western Wall) is the heart of Jerusalem.”
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot also addressed the crowd, which included veterans from the Six-Day War. Eizenkot said the veterans “returned to the Jewish people their eternal capital.”
“You remember the great joy and the feeling of pride in your victory, and ache for the price in blood that you paid in difficult battles,” he said.
The Jerusalem Day celebrations come amid renewed global attention over the status of Jerusalem and the Western Wall as a result of President Donald Trump’s whirlwind visit to Israel that ended Tuesday. While the U.S., like the rest of the international community, does not recognize Israel’s control over Jerusalem—including the Temple Mount and Western Wall, Judaism's holiest sites—Trump became the first sitting president to ever visit the Kotel.