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Jerusalem: Famous Quotations

“Never before have Arabs made a capital in a kind of holy city. Take Saudi Arabia. They have Mecca, Medina, to build their capital there. They took a village called Riyadh and turned it into a capital. The Jordanians had Jerusalem, but they built a capital in Amman and not Jerusalem. I think the Arabs have — the Muslims have great rights in Jerusalem and they must be safeguarded to the tiniest little bit, as the rights of other Christians ... We were there a little earlier. In another four or five years, we celebrate 3,000 years since David the King came and made his capital of the Jewish Kingdom in Jerusalem. When we came back to a unified city after the Six-Day War, we were attacked, we drove them away, the city became one. We didn't touch any of the holy places. We gave freedom of access and freedom of prayer, of course, and freedom of education to every one of the many groups in the city.”

Teddy Kollek; Mayor of Jerusalem (1967-1993)

“For three thousand years, Jerusalem has been the center of Jewish hope and longing. No other city has played such a dominant role in the history, culture, religion and consciousness of a people as has Jerusalem in the life of Jewry and Judaism. Throughout centuries of exile, Jerusalem remained alive in the hearts of Jews everywhere as the focal point of Jewish history, the symbol of ancient glory, spiritual fulfillment and modern renewal. This heart and soul of the Jewish people engenders the thought that if you want one simple word to symbolize all of Jewish history, that word would be ‘Jerusalem.’” 

Teddy Kollek; Mayor of Jerusalem (1967-1993)
, (DC: Washington Institute For Near East Policy, 1990), pp. 19-20.

“You ought to let the Jews have Jerusalem; it was they who made it famous.”

— Winston Churchill to diplomat Evelyn Shuckburgh, 1955
Descent to Suez; Diaries 1951-1956 (London: 1986).

“Through a historical catastrophe — the destruction of Jerusalem by the emperor of Rome — I was born in one of the cities in the diaspora. But I always deemed myself a child of Jerusalem, one who is in reality a native of Jerusalem.”

S.J. Agnon; Nobel Literautre Prize Laureate
Nobel Prize Ceremony (1966)

“Without Jerusalem, the land of Israel is as a body without a soul.”

— Elhanan Leib Lewinsky; Hebrew writer & Zionist leader (1857-1910)

“No city in the world, not even Athens or Rome, ever played as great a role in the life of a nation for so long a time, as Jerusalem has done in the life of the Jewish people.”

David Ben-Gurion; Israeli Prime Minister (1947)

“We regard it as our duty to declare that Jewish Jerusalem is an organic and inseparable part of the State of Israel, as it is an inseparable part of the history of Israel, of the faith of Israel.”

David Ben-Gurion; Israeli Prime Minister
Knesset speech (December 1949)

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

Psalms 122:6

“In the din and tumult of the age, the still small voice of Jerusalem remains our only music.”

Israel Zangwill, 1921

“Eternity means Jerusalem.”

— Talmud, Tractate Berachot

“For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

Isaiah 2:3