One day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Jerusalem will not be divided, the speaker of the Knesset and several other government ministers attended a dedication ceremony for the new Jewish settlement of Ma’aleh Zeitim, in East Jerusalem’s Ras al-Amud neighborhood.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, and Information Minister Daniel Hershkovitz all participated in the ceremony – this despite the fact that the Jewish neighborhood has already been inhabited for several years.
A group of tens of left-wing activists gathered outside the site of the ceremony, shouting “Jews and Arabs against Ma’aleh Zeitim” and “There is no shame in the holy city.”
Rivlin delivered a speech at the ceremony, where he made a warning based on the recent Mideast policy speech laid out by United States President Barack Obama.
“Until today, despite a difference of opinions, there were relations between Israel and the U.S. based on mutual interests, shared democratic values, and recognition of the right of the Jewish people in their country,” Rivlin said.
“But this time, I hear another note from the U.S. president…. That Israel doesn’t need to be strict on the conditions that will protect her existence, that the U.S. will be responsible for [Israel’s] security and existence. And what happens if one day there is a president that thinks that Israel’s existence contradicts Americans’ interests?”