Some 30,000 Israelis gathered for the annual flag march through eastern Jerusalem in honor of Jerusalem Day, as at least 3,000 police took up patrols throughout the city.
The annual march led by the religious Zionist community, in which participants march and dance with flags throughout the city, culminating in dancing at the Western Wall, is set to make its way Wednesday afternoon through the largely Palestinian eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
Jerusalem Day marks the reunification of the city under Israeli control during the Six Day War 44 years ago.
While the parade in previous years took place largely in the western Jerusalem, this year the parade was rerouted through the eastern sector in order to avoid the new light rail tracks.
“Jerusalem will never be divided,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday night during a speech in the Merkaz Harav yeshiva in honor of Jerusalem Day. “There’s nothing more holy to us than Jerusalem, we’ll protect Jerusalem, its unity, and we’ll build and develop it.”
The yeshiva was the site of a terror attack in 2008 in which a Palestinian gunman killed eight students.
“Next year in a more built up Jerusalem,” Netanyahu added, a play on the Jewish prayer of ‘Next year in Jerusalem.’