Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said that, regretfully, only the religious sector marks Jerusalem Day. He spoke during a special Knesset meeting marking the national holiday on Wednesday.
"Jerusalem Day was created by law as a national holiday. And yet the nature of celebrations in Jerusalem and the identity of those dancing in the streets today teach us that the national holiday in its current form more resembles a sectorial holiday. To be honest, most of the main events in Jerusalem have long been held under the auspices of the religious public."
Rivlin noted the rally held in the Mercaz Harav yeshiva on Tuesday marking the eve of Jerusalem Day and lamented the fact that the holiday wasn't being marked in other locations.
"Today, it's hard not to wonder whether the limited circle of dancers wasn't a testimony of the painful drop in Jerusalem's status among the greater public and the Israeli society. Jerusalem, today, does not serve as an all-Israeli center of identification. Jerusalem is no longer a source of inspiration for the greater public.
"Gentlemen, I fear we are in the midst of a post-Jerusalem age. We would prefer explain it with the post-modern age we live in. We would rather think, erroneously, that in an age where such words as 'Zionism' and 'values' are accompanied with an embarrassed, apologetic smile, it is natural than Jerusalem too has been left behind."
'We ill-treated Jerusalem'
Rivlin later expressed remorse over the city's current status.
"We ill-treated Jerusalem. We ill-treated it by becoming addicted to poeticizing it. We ill-treated it by endlessly longing for a distant 'Zion' while Zion is alive here and now. We ill-treated it by endlessly debating its borders and outlines and not debating enough current substance and vision.
"We ill-treated it by writing checks we never cashed in. Checks such as 'The Reunited Town,' which, 43 years on, is hardly united. Checks such as 'Jerusalem the eternal capital of the State of Israel,' which 43 years on, it is questioned whether it is indeed as the capital.
He continued, "How could Jerusalem serve as a relevant center of identification when we have yet to comprehensively explore its character and role as a present-time capital? How could Jerusalem serves as a source of inspiration for all, whilst it suffers from severe discrimination between the Arab and Jewish sectors? Whilst it suffers from a lack of integration between the sectors? And from poverty and the lack of a healthy financial web?"