Organizers Pledge a Quieter Jerusalem Day This Year

Last year, the Flag March by religious-Zionist youth attracted tens of thousands of young people, who marched through Arab neighborhoods.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Israel on Sunday gears up for Jerusalem Day, to be marked by two key events in the east of the city: the controversial Flag March by religious-Zionist youth and the official ceremony on Ammunition Hill.

Last year, the Flag March attracted tens of thousands of young people, who marched through Arab neighborhoods. The organizers this year have promised to prevent racist chants, and left-wing activists are planning a counterdemonstration.

The police first declined to approve the requested route in East Jerusalem, but eventually bowed to political pressure. Last year, hundreds chanted slogans such as "death to Arabs," leading to the arrest of 24 Jews and Arabs.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will attend the official event on Ammunition Hill and later take part in a ceremony at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem officials are pleased with data from the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies pointing to a slight increase in the number of secular Jewish schoolchildren in the city, after a 15-year decline.

"The city's residents feel the changes and new trends in the city," said Mayor Nir Barkat. "Tourist numbers are peaking and international sports and cultural events are attracting thousands of visitors from Israel and abroad."

A Jerusalem Day march through the streets of East Jerusalem. Credit: AP



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