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December 6, 2018 10:30 am

Jewish, Christian Groups Urge Australian Leader to Move Embassy to Jerusalem

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Aug. 24, 2018. Photo: Reuters / David Gray. – Several leading Australian Jewish and Christian groups are calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the country’s embassy there.

In October, Morrison, who is an evangelical Christian from the right-wing Liberal Party, said he was “open to” the move, describing it as a “sensible” proposal.

“The orthodoxy that’s driven this debate says issues like considering the question of the capital are taboo. I think we have to challenge that,” he said at the time.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, just ahead of the last parliamentary session before the holidays, the coalition of Jewish and Christian groups called upon the Australian government “to give formal recognition to Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, and to announce the Australian embassy located in Tel Aviv will be relocated to Israel’s government precinct in Jerusalem as soon as feasible.”

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“Jerusalem is Israel’s seat of government, and the location of the nation’s parliament, ministerial offices, supreme court, and the official residences of the president and prime minister,” the statement read. ‘‘Recognition of Jerusalem is therefore a pragmatic acknowledgment of an existing reality that it is Israel’s functioning capital.”

The coalition, which was organized by the Australian branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, includes the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Australian Jewish Association, Liberal Friends of Israel, Zionist Federation of Australia, Rabbinic Council of Australia and New Zealand, Advance Australia and Christians for Israel Australia.

The potential move by Australia to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would make the country only the third to do so, following the United States and Guatemala in May.

Paraguay relocated its embassy there as well, but its new leader, President Mario Abdo Benítez, reversed the move upon entering office.

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