Netanyahu’s Jerusalem Day speech.
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
“Thank you. The work is indeed considerable and impressive and is being carried out under your leadership and, of course, in cooperation with, and led by, Government ministers. Each one of them has contributed of his or her time and energy and, I must say, from their budgets.
There is very great commitment to the unity and development of Jerusalem. We are translating this, first of all, into a lot of money that we are investing here. We also see this in the aesthetic change that has come over the city – in infrastructure, education, tourism and tourist sites. We are continuing this here today with the decisions that we will make.
We are committed to the liberation of Jerusalem. With the concurrence of Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, we have also decided to maintain and renovate this site. Ammunition Hill expresses the heroism and self-sacrifice, without which Jerusalem would not be unified. We will renovate this site and turn it into a heritage site. As soon as it becomes a national heritage site, it will, in effect, ensure its continued operation for generations to come.
A second thing that we are committed to, first of all, is to the city’s past. Jerusalem was a city of the Bible, Jerusalem will be a city of the Bible. Today, we will make a series of decisions that will enable us to build Biblical sites in the city that will enhance and explain our link to the Land of the Bible, to Zion, and also allow millions of people, no less, millions of people to have a direct appreciation of Israel’s heritage as it finds expression in the Bible. This will be Jerusalem and this is very important.
We are committed to Jerusalem’s present – to build apartments. Today, we will make decisions that will make it easier for military and police personnel to live in Jerusalem. This is very important, there is housing distress and there is also great demand for housing – and we will deal with it.
We are also committed to an expanded tourism plan that will embrace the entire city; this will lead to the present and future development of Jerusalem. We are committed to the future. There is a special expression to this that we will decide upon today – the decision to build the Einstein museum. The idea is President Shimon Peres’ and I adopt it wholeheartedly. I think that the Government ministers who are familiar with this special idea can give it their backing because it will attract the entire world to the museum, which has been designed in the image of the head of Albert Einstein. I believe that this will be a global attraction.
We are joining the past, the present and the future, and I think that very great and important things are being done here to ensure the future of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital as well.
I would also like to comment on one additional issue, that of illegal work infiltrators. This phenomenon is very grave and threatens the social fabric of society, our national security and our national identity.
It began over seven years ago and upon the Government’s entry into office three years ago, we decided to deal with this problem in all its aspects – first of all, to stop the entry and second, to begin to withdraw those who were already inside. If we do not stop the entry, the problem, there are now 60,000 illegal infiltrators, could easily grow to 600,000 illegal infiltrators. This would inundate the state and, to a considerable degree, cancel out its image as a Jewish and democratic state.
Therefore, the first necessity is to build a physical barrier and again, all ministers here have contributed from their budgets so that we can build this barrier which is currently nearing completion. By October it will be complete in its entirety, except for a small section around Eilat, which we are dealing with separately and where a fence will be completed. But until then we will block it with other means, including forces.
Then the first thing is to stop the entry. And the second thing – is to start withdrawing. How will this be done? First of all, those who employ illegal infiltrators will be punished severely and we will also begin the physical withdrawal. I know that this issue bothers many citizens, and rightly so. I talk with them. I have been to Eilat and other places, so have the ministers. We are aware of the distress; we are dealing with it. We will resolve the issue, not by shouting, but by action. We hear the shouts, we are taking action and the action will succeed.
A Happy Jerusalem Day to you.