Jerusalem Projects Ukraine, Russia Flags on Old City Walls, Draws Ire

Jerusalem city hall removes images of both flags after harsh criticism

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
The flags of Ukraine and Russia projected on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.
The flags of Ukraine and Russia projected on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.Credit: Ammar Awad/Reuters
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

After members of Jerusalem city council criticized the municipality for projecting images of both Ukrainian and Russian flags on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City, city hall removed the images of both flags.

The earlier decision to include the Russian flag alongside the Ukrainian one was at odds with the display of the Ukrainian colors alone in cities around the world in an act of solidarity with Ukraine following Russia's February 24 invasion.

The two flags had been projected alongside the images of doves of peace and the Hebrew prayer passage “He who makes peace in his high places.” Also displayed was the phrase, “We’re waiting for you,” an apparent hint that Jerusalem might serve as the site of a summit meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Flags on the Old City walls of Jerusalem.

In his criticism of the display of the Russian flag along with the Ukrainian one, the leader of the opposition on Jerusalem's city council, Ofer Berkowitz, tweeted in part: "Don’t distort reality" and added, "The aggressor is the aggressor. You can’t place the attacker and the attacked together. It’s unjust. It’s hurtful to thousands of victims. Jerusalem can be a city of peace and host a summit to prevent war, but Jerusalem is first and foremost a city of justice.”

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The Jerusalem Municipality said in response to the criticism that "the capital of Israel, is a city of peace and coexistence. We are in favor of stopping the fighting and reaching understandings between the sides. We would be happy to respond positively to a request from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and host the diplomatic dialogue between the two countries here in Jerusalem.”

At a news conference last week in Kyiv, the Ukrainian president said it would be inappropriate to hold a summit in Russia, Ukraine – or in Belarus – where lower-level talks have been held between the two sides. He added, "These aren’t places in which we could reach any understandings on stopping the war. I’m not talking about technical meetings, but about meetings between leaders. I believe Israel could serve as such a meeting place, especially in Jerusalem.”

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