Last week, we celebrated Jerusalem Day. But paradoxically, two-thirds of the city’s residents are non-Zionists, and in a decade or two, the Zionist Jerusalemites’ part in its population will be insignificant.

The root of evil sprouted in 1967, when the Israeli government made one of the most stupid decisions an Israeli government ever made. It adopted a proposal made by two overenthusiastic senior officers to annex 28 villages, refugee camps and neighborhoods populated with Palestinians to the capital. None of the annexed areas ever belonged to Jerusalem.

Instead of settling for the annexation of the 6 square kilometers of Jordanian Jerusalem (including the Old City, the Holy Basin, the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus), the government annexed to Jewish Jerusalem some 60 square kilometers of areas and territories which were part of Judea in the south and Samaria in the north.

Today, there are some 860,000 people living in the “whole” Jerusalem. About one-third of its residents are Palestinians, one-third are ultra-Orthodox, and only one-third are Zionist Jews. There isn’t another capital in the world in which the majority of residents don’t identify with their state’s complete national identity.

Cabinet meeting on Jerusalem Day. As far as Netanyahu is concerned, Jerusalem is already divided in practice into Jewish neighborhoods on one side and Palestinian villages and camps on the other side (Photo: Kobi Gideon, GPO)

Cabinet meeting on Jerusalem Day. As far as Netanyahu is concerned, Jerusalem is already divided in practice into Jewish neighborhoods on one side and Palestinian villages and camps on the other side (Photo: Kobi Gideon, GPO)

Since first being elected prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has turned the annexed Palestinian villages, with their hundreds of thousands of Arab residents, into “the rock of our existence.” The Shuafat refugee camp has become as holy to him as the Western Wall, and the village of al-Walaja has become as holy as the Temple Mount.

Unfortunately, former Finance Minister Yair Lapid rushed to follow in his footsteps, when he referred to the “whole” Jerusalem, with its many Palestinian villages and camps, as an “idea” which must not be touched.

Not only are the Palestinian villages jeopardizing Jerusalem’s existence as a Jewish city, but the State of Israel is spending NIS 2 to 3 billion ($51-77 million) every year and paying some 300,000 Palestinian different national insurance allowances and funding their welfare, education and health services.

Netanyahu and Lapid were joined in the recent election campaign by Opposition Chairman Isaac Herzog, who also swore allegiance to the “whole Jerusalem” absurdity. His Jerusalem extends from the Shuafat and Qalandiya refugee camps in the north to the village of al-Walaja in the north, with Issawiya, Jabel Mukaber and Sur Baher in between. Yes, we’re familiar with those names – the lone wolf terrorists operating in Jewish Jerusalem in the past few years came from all of those villages and camps.

In Bibi’s eyes, Jerusalem’s integrity was and still is not just an empty slogan, but a slogan covering up a disastrous reality. In fact, as far as he is concerned, the city is already divided in practice into Jewish neighborhoods on one side and Palestinian villages and camps – the transparent Arab neighborhoods – on the other side.

Jerusalem has turned into an embroiled and split city, second to Bnei Brak in the poverty of most of its residents, which is being abandoned by its finest sons. It is becoming more and more right-wing, nationalistic and haredi on one hand, and more and more Palestinian on the other hand.

Bibi is destroying Jewish Jerusalem, and is unfortunately being joined by Buji, who is sanctifying the tragic mistake made in 1967 and even taking pride in the mistake and its “roots” in the party.

The only way to preserve Jewish Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is to fix that mistake. We must return the 28 villages to the West Bank and continue building the security fence which former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began constructing in Jerusalem in 2004, when he essentially excluded the Shuafat refugee camp and Kafr ‘Aqab from Jerusalem.

This fence must be extended southward and westward, so that villages like Jabel Mukaber, Sur Baher and al-Walaja are removed from Jerusalem’s municipal area. That way, Jerusalem will go back to being a city with a stable Jewish majority. It will of course include all the Jewish neighborhoods built after 1967.

I am calling on the opposition chairman not to get dragged by Bibi and the Likud’s policy of destroying Jewish Jerusalem and to start working clearly for the sake of a Jewish, Zionist and democratic Jerusalem.

Haim Ramon served as a member of the Knesset and a minister between 1983 and 2009 on behalf of the Labor Party and Kadima.