(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
The following are remarks made by Foreign Minister Shimon Peres in th Knesset on September 7, 1993, and which were also sent to Norwegian Foreign Minister Johan Jorgen Holst, on October 11, 1993:
Israel has always highlighted the religious importance and significance of Jerusalem to members of the monotheistic faiths. Israel will continue to respect the unique value of the city and its sites for the spiritual and daily life of Jews, Muslims and Christians. In the words of the Prophet Isaiah: ‘For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples’.
We have been, and remain, committed to freedom of worship and to the proper functioning of the various existing religious institutions which operate in the city. We will continue to respect the aspects relating to the existence of free religious life in the city, and we will aspire to broaden the dialogue which we conduct with the institutions of the various religions.
As in the past, we will refrain from taking any step or action which might harm freedom of worship and freedom of access to the holy sites, or the feelings and sensibilities of members of the various communities. This commitment relates both to residents of the city and to visitors, as well as to the holy sites in it.
Jerusalem is a city of many faces, religions and cultures. Jews, Muslims and Christians live in it together, while each community seeks to preserve its cultural heritage, its unique character, and its social and religious institutions, including its own educational system.
Coexistence in Jerusalem is a matter of mutual respect between all residents and of the proper functioning of the relevant institutions and systems.