JERUSALEM, Israel - In a special Knesset session marking Jerusalem Day, acting Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said the city would "forever remain the eternal capital of the State of Israel. This is a promise; this is a fact," he said.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, former Mayor Uri Lupolianski and members of the Jerusalem City Council joined Knesset members for the ceremonies.
Shalom, who served as prime minister during PM Binyamin Netanyahu's trip to Washington this week, was responding to reports that U.S. President Barack Obama's new Mideast initiative calls on Israel to divide its capital.
"For every single Jew, Jerusalem is not just a capital city," Shalom told Knesset members.
"Jerusalem is the beating heart of the Jewish people. Jerusalem is a symbol. Jerusalem is protected by the current government and previous government's clear policy. We will never give up Jerusalem. Never," the deputy prime minister said.
"We disagree on many matters, but there is one thing that the overwhelming majority of us agree on without hesitation: Keeping Jerusalem as the State of Israel's eternal capital," Shalom said.
"There aren't two Jerusalem's. There is one Jerusalem. Jerusalem will never be up for compromise," he said.
Following Shalom's address, opposition leader and Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni spoke.
"There is a lot of talk about a unified Jerusalem," Livni said. "Unfortunately, Jerusalem is also often used as a tool to divide the people by those who have turned Jerusalem, the symbol of the Jewish people throughout the ages, into an election slogan," she said.
"I suggest to all of us on this day not to preach or divide the people into Jerusalem lovers, to those who are committed to it and those who are less [committed]. We all love it and are committed to the people of Israel to keep it," Livni said.
"The state of Israel must have a vision that is translated into a program, the way to protect Israel - its security, its national interests, Jerusalem and the holy sites - is by translating the vision into an Israeli initiative. We won't preserve Jerusalem by saying 'no' to everything," she said.
Livni served as foreign minister in the previous government under former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who near the end of his administration spoke openly of dividing the nation's capital.
Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz echoed the call that Jerusalem remain the undivided capital of the Jewish state.
"It is an unshakeable commandment for generations to work for Jerusalem's future and permanent unification," Mofaz said.
"We must say this with a loud voice and with daily actions in order that, heaven forbid, not even one weak voice should be sounded in our midst calling to lift a hand against our eternal capital," he said.
Sources: YNet news, israel national news