President Reuven Rivlin paid tribute to Six-Day War victims at a memorial ceremony in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Addressing families of IDF that died during the historic event more than 50 years ago, Israel’s leader said memories were precious.
“All we can give to the sons and daughters who have paid with their lives, and to you, who have given the most precious of all, is memory,” he noted. “Their memory that lives with us even after they have gone, let the souls of our sons and daughters be bound up in the bond of life.”
Since the war, Israelis have marked the reunification of Jerusalem at the Western Wall with music, singing and dancing.
Rivlin said that Israel is in a stronger position as a result of the conflict.
“We have peace agreements with our neighbours, Israel is strong and stable,” he noted. “The IDF is stronger, more sophisticated and more powerful than it was fifty years ago, but the country is still not quiet. There are other threats that we must address.”
He added, “Iran continues to threaten the stability of the region and poses a real threat to Israel’s well-being. The State of Israel and IDF are prepared to respond to every scenario and threat. We are not bent on war. Not bloodthirsty. But if we are required to do so, if we are forced to fight, then as today, we will respond wisely, with force.
“We will continue to maintain the State of Israel’s commitment to the security and well-being of its citizens.”
Away from memorial events, Israeli security forces clashed with Palestinians at the Temple Mount after around 100 Jewish visitors were allowed to the sacred site for Jerusalem Day celebrations.
Rioters hurled stones in protest to a police decision to allow non-Muslims entry for the first time in 30 years to mark the unification of the capital city.
Jerusalem District Commander Maj. Gen. Doron Yadid ordered officers to deploy dispersal measures.
Activists continued protesting after withdrawing to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
A number of protesters were arrested at the scene.
Police kept a presence as thousands gathered in the Old City for Israel’s annual Flag march.
Students from religious high schools, yeshivas and seminaries attended.,
Israel’s decision to allow Jewish visitors was criticised by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
By Leah Waxler