The Jerusalem Post

Erdan: We’ll defend right to J’lem against Hamas lies

10 foreign envoys to visit southern, northern borders


Israel will continue to defend its rights to Jerusalem against the falsehoods spread by the terror group Hamas, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan (Likud)) told a visiting delegation of foreign envoys that he brought to the Old City on Friday.

“As a former minister of public security I know firsthand that contrary to the lies Hamas tries to spread to justify its terror, Israel goes to great efforts to ensure that people of all faiths are able to practice their religion in peace.

“We will continue to defend our right to the holy city, and to defend the freedom of all who want to worship here,” Erdan said.

He spoke as he stood on the rooftop of the Aish Hatorah World Center with its commanding view of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, also known as al Haram al Sharif.

Just two months ago Hamas launched rockets at Israel in response to unrest in Jerusalem,

including reports that Muslims had been denied the right to worship at the al-Aksa Mosque compound on the Temple Mount.

The rockets led to an 11-day war known as Guardians of the Wall. Now in its aftermath Erdan, who is typically stationed in New York, has returned to Israel with a group of ten foreign Ambassador­s stationed both in Washington and at the UN.

He plans to take them to Israel’s southern and northern borders so they can see the threats Israel faces both from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Erdan, who was also Israel’s Ambassador to Washington under the last government, started the trip in Jerusalem, so he could show the ambassador­s that the Old City is open to worshipers of all three religions; Jews, Christians and Muslims.

A large part of his role at the UN has also been to defend Jewish ties to the city, against a persistent Palestinia­n and Arab drive to claim that the Temple Mount and Jerusalem’s Old

City is exclusivel­y Muslim.

Erdan told The Jerusalem Post, that Jerusalem “is where it all starts” for the Jewish people. The city is the pillar of the Jewish people’s “historical and biblical and moral rights for this land,” he added.

The best way to combat attempts to delegitimi­ze Israel by branding it as a colonial power is to “highlight” the deep roots of the Jewish people to the land and “above all Jerusalem,” Erdan explained. He was certain, he said, that after such a visit it would be difficult for the envoys to support any initiative that wakened Jewish ties to Jerusalem.

“I hope it will help in the future,” he said.

Erdan said he has also had to work against initiative­s that sought to deprive Israel of its right to self-defense.

“After Operation Guardian of the Walls I decided that this is the right time to start focusing on bringing UN ambassador­s, and ambassador­s that represent their countries in Washington, to experience [the situation] first hand,” Erdan said.

On Tisha B’Av the delegation will participat­e in a special Holocaust Remembranc­e program at Yad Vashem, arranged by Internatio­nal March of The Living, which is a co-sponsor of the delegation.

Among the diplomats participat­ing in the trip were envoys from Australia, Argentina, Bhutan, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Kenya, Guatemala, Ukraine, and Tonga.

The American Zionist Movement helped sponsor the trip.

It’s president Deborah Isaac said, “We hope that the participan­ts will come away from the experience with a deeper and more realistic perspectiv­e of Israel and the threats it faces, as well as an appreciati­on for the rich and diverse culture of the State of Israel.

“The American Zionist Movement looks forward to forging new and lasting friendship­s with the members of the delegation and their host countries.”..

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