18 Arrested at Israeli Nationalist Flag March Through East Jerusalem - The World News

18 Arrested at Israeli Nationalist Flag March Through East Jerusalem

“We need vengeance,” said one marcher, Noam Goldstein, 15, a high school student from a small Israeli settlement near the Palestinian city of Hebron, in the West Bank. “They’ve committed attacks against us, so we need to be avenged. That doesn’t mean we need to kill every last one.”

But he added: “I want this entire land to be ours.”

After Israel’s 1948 founding, Jerusalem was divided in two: Israel controlled the city’s western neighborhoods, while Jordan controlled mostly-Palestinian East Jerusalem. During the 1967 Mideast war, Israel conquered East Jerusalem and later annexed it, a move not recognized by most countries, which still regard it as occupied territory.

Tensions inflamed by the yearly rally commemorating the takeover helped touch off an 11-day conflict in May 2021 between Israel and the Palestinian armed group Hamas. Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem as the march was about to kick off, triggering rocket-alert sirens and sending thousands scrambling for cover.

On Wednesday, Shilo Tzoref, a 19-year-old student at a religious school, or yeshiva, sought to distance himself from some of the more violent chants. “The central idea is that Jerusalem belongs to us,” he said. “You shouldn’t hit every Arab you see in the street. It’s a holy day celebrating Jerusalem, it’s not about having a fistfight with our enemies.”

Earlier on Wednesday, some Jewish Israelis had ascended to the Noble Sanctuary, a hotly contested holy site known to Muslims as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and to Jews as the Temple Mount. Under a longstanding arrangement at the sensitive holy site, non-Muslims are allowed to visit but only Muslims may pray.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, the national security minister and a far-right political leader, also joined the procession. Mr. Ben-Gvir, who has long pushed for Jewish worship at the Noble Sanctuary, said that Jews had freely prayed on the Temple Mount in accordance with his orders to police, bucking the status quo.

“We’re here to tell them that Jerusalem is ours, Damascus Gate is ours, and the Temple Mount is ours,” Mr. Ben-Gvir told reporters at the march.

Ephrat Livni contributed reporting.

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