Minister (Bayit Yehudi) Uri Ariel has sent a letter to Jerusalem Police Chief Moshe Edri and Israel Police Chief Yochanan Danino in which he requests opening Lion’s Gate to the Old City on Yom Yerushalayim.
“I will pass through the Lion’s Gate even without police permission” states Ariel.
Ariel sent the letter on Monday 22 Iyar, to both the chief of the department and the Jerusalem chief, calling for the opening of the gate on Jerusalem Day to permit the tens of thousands of marchers taking part in the day’s event to march via the Old City to the Kosel.
In his letter the minister explains that having marchers enter the various gates to the Old City has become a symbol of the day, commemorating the liberation of the Old City from Jordanian occupation in June 1967. “Entry of the thousands carrying Israeli flags is a statement of Israeli sovereignty on Yerushalayim” adds the minister.
He further explains that prohibiting entry via the gate on Yom Yerushalayim is a sign of weakness regarding Israeli sovereignty on all of Jerusalem and this is why he is making the request. He calls on the commander to reconsider the decision not to open the gate, which permits marchers to retrace the steps of paratroopers who liberated the city.
Ariel adds that if permission is not granted, he plans to enter the Old City via the gate nonetheless, escorted by 100 people.
Ariel issued a call to the general public to come to the capital on Yom Yerushalayim and to “participate in the march to the Old City, and thereby reenact the steps of the soldiers who liberated the Old City from Arab occupation decades ago”.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)