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Jerusalem Day celebrations hide sad reality

The reality of impoverished, neglected and undeveloped East Jerusalem is a far cry from the glossy image of the city presented at the celebration of 50 years of unification.
Far right Israeli supporters wave the Israeli flag as they demonstrate on May 24, 2017 in front of Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City to commemorate Jerusalem Day, marking the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City following its capture in the Six-Day War of 1967.  / AFP PHOTO / Thomas COEX        (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)
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At the official ceremony on Ammunition Hill to mark the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification, President of Israel Reuven Rivlin said, "We can't sing the praises of a united Jerusalem in which 40% of the population live in what is the most impoverished urban area in Israel. We must not accept that 50 years after the reunification of the Jerusalem, the situation of Jerusalem, capital of the State of Israel, has declined, so that it is now ranked among the lowest socio-economic clusters in the country." Not for the first time, Rivlin’s remarks interrupted a series of impassioned cliches May 24. As has happened before, the president told Israelis the way things really are.

Rivlin had shown the same courage during the Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony exactly one month earlier. At that event, he pleaded with Israelis to stop using the Holocaust as "the prism through which we view the world," to steer clear of a tendency toward victimhood and to adopt a perspective based on inner strength and self-confidence.

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