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ISRAELI POLITICAL AND RABBINIC LEADERS PLEDGE TO SUPPORT A UNITED JERUSALEM

At a Jerusalem Day event in Jerusalem commemorating the events of 42 years ago that reunited Israel's capital, a vast array of Israeli political and rabbinic leaders vowed to support a united Jerusalem. The event was highlighted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who forcefully declared that Jerusalem will not be divided. The event took place at Yeshiva Merkaz Harav Kook, where eight young students were brutally murdered on March 6, 2008, when an Arab gunman opened fire inside the school.

Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President of the National Council of Young Israel, who was invited to the event by Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro, Dean of Yeshiva Merkaz Harav Kook, and who was seated alongside the various political and rabbinic leaders, was struck by the compelling tenor of the remarks regarding the future of Jerusalem.

"To hear so many prominent political and rabbinic personalities speak in such compelling terms about the importance of a united Jerusalem on Yom Yerushalayim was especially poignant," said Rabbi Lerner. "There was a clear consensus among Israel's leading political and rabbinic leaders that dividing Jerusalem is simply not an option."

Rabbi Lerner noted that all of the politicians repeated and emphasized several recurring themes, including the fact that Jerusalem must remain whole under Israel's authority and control; that there will be no foreign control of Jerusalem, the Western Wall, Temple Mount, or other Jewish holy sites; that Jerusalem is the heart of the Jewish nation; that Jerusalem is part of the Jewish homeland and will remain as such; and that whoever can talk of giving away Jerusalem is in essence talking about giving away all of Israel.

In addition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, other political leaders at the event included Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin; Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat; Israeli Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe "Boogie" Ya'alon: Israeli Minister of Justice Professor Yaakov Neeman; Israeli Minister of Education Gideon Sa'ar; as well as several other Ministers and Members of Knesset.

Among the rabbinical leaders in attendance was Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro, Dean of Yeshiva Merkaz Harav Kook; Rabbi Yonah Metzger, the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel; Rabbi Shlomo Amar, the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel; Rabbi She'ar Yashuv Cohen, the Chief Rabbi of Haifa; and Rav Yaakov Ariel, the Chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan.

Rabbi Lerner noted that Prime Minister Netanyahu's remarks left no doubt about how the Israeli leader feels about the future of Jerusalem.

"United Jerusalem is the capital of Israel," said Prime Minister Netanyahu. "Jerusalem has always been - and always will be - ours. It will never again be divided or cut in half."

Rabbi Lerner commented how critical it is that those who heard the message about a united Jerusalem directly from Israel's leaders share that important message with others in the Jewish community. It is then up to the Jewish community, said Rabbi Lerner, to convey that message to American political leaders.

"As members of the American Jewish community, we have a responsibility to ensure that our political leaders understand the significance of keeping Jerusalem united and under Jewish control," said Rabbi Lerner. "The United States needs to know the significance of Jerusalem - the capital of the Jewish homeland - to the Jewish community. We need to send a clear message that Jerusalem must remain intact, as part of Israel, forever."

http://www.youngisrael.org /pages/index.cfm/Israeli-L eaders-Pledge-Support-To-a -United-Jerusalem