Monday, December 6th | 2 Tevet 5782

December 8, 2017 1:07 pm

Recognizing All of Jerusalem: Here to Stay

avatar by Martin Oliner


The Israeli flag at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Photo: Hynek Moravec via Wikimedia Commons.

When President Donald Trump arrived in Israel in May, he was greeted by my article in The Jerusalem Post, which called upon him to start the process of moving the US Embassy to Israel’s capital.

I also called on American Jews to do their part in bringing about such a historic step.

“Now is the time for American supporters of Israel to press the administration to make the right decision,” I wrote in the article that day.

“The way we preserve Jerusalem is to urge the administration to move the embassy.”

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It took six months longer than it should have, but President Trump should be commended for the move that he announced on Wednesday, and American Jews should be patted on the back for their role in making it happen.

Trump’s decisions demonstrate stronger than ever the massive power of the American Jewish community when it is able to set aside its differences and unite for an important cause.

Contrary to how Trump’s announcement has been portrayed in the international media, I believe that it will advance the cause of peace and the international effort against terrorism.

There is no step that demonstrates better to the world that the US will reward its allies and punish its enemies than moving the embassy of Israel, its ultimate ally, to Jerusalem, the Jewish state’s united, eternal capital.

Consequently, there is no bigger blow to terrorism against Israel, the US and the world than Trump’s announcement.

Regardless of their opinion of Trump’s policies on domestic issues, antisemitism and other elements in his foreign policy, US Jewish leaders must credit Trump for restoring American exceptionalism on Israel.

But the work is not done. We can still not afford to rest on our laurels.

Now that Jerusalem has been recognized by the US president as Israel’s capital, questions remain regarding what Jerusalem will be.

Will Israel be forced to relinquish sizable portions of its capital as part of a diplomatic process with an enemy that has not given up its hope of destroying the Jewish state? Will the development of Israel’s largest city continue to be stifled artificially by the international community falsely defining its largest northern and southern neighborhoods and its suburbs on three sides as Jewish “settlements?” Should Jerusalem continue to remain one of the few capitals in the world that does not have an airport? Even well-meaning Israeli MKs on the Right, such as the Likud’s Anat Berko, have recently proposed relinquishing neighborhoods in Jerusalem just because they are overwhelmingly Arab. Berko’s plan calls for unilaterally relinquishing control over 22 square kilometers in Jerusalem where 300,000 Arabs and very few Jews live.

In my view, this is not the time for making concessions in Israel’s capital. It is the time to grow and solidify the city for its residents of all religions and ethnicities, and to call for people around the world to come and pray.

We Jews have yearned for Jerusalem for more than 1,800 years, and now it is miraculously back under our control.

True salvation for Jerusalem will not come from Washington, DC, but from us realizing that Jerusalem is DC — David’s City, and it is therefore our obligation to preserve, maintain and cherish all of it.

The author is co-president of the Religious Zionists of America and chairman of the Center for Righteousness and Integrity. He can be reached at [email protected]

A version of this article was originally published by The Jerusalem Post. 

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