Rabbi Pesach Lerner, executive vice president of the National Council of Young Israel, founded the council to serve as an umbrella for US Jewish organizations trying "to preserve a united Jerusalem." The rabbi claims that the talk of dividing Jerusalem has opened the door for relinquishing control over different parts of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount.
The council is made up of rightist and settler groups as well as non-religious and apolitical organizations. Some of the groups did not even oppose the disengagement from Gaza in 2005. The council claims that each group that counts itself among its supporters has its own agenda and is not necessarily driven by rightwing politics.
Lerner claims that Jewish leaders from all over the world are combining forces and uniting in order to make one thing clear: world Jewry opposes negotiations to relinquish sovereignty over any section of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem also belongs to Jews in the Diaspora
Jerusalem has served as the focus of the Jewish people and has been part of Jewish heritage each generation for 3,000 years, Rabbi Lerner said.
According to the Young Israel leader, the Holy City belongs to all Jews, not just those that reside in Israel.
Leaders of the new initiative claim to have set up meetings with US congressional figures and White House advisers that are scheduled to take place in the coming weeks.
The different groups that merged to form the Young Israel organization represent a minority of American Jews given their close connection to developments in Israel. Most American Jews have little connection to the Jewish state.
Young Israel may be able to secure funding for a hasbara campaign against the division of Jerusalem from wealthy Jews from the US and Australia. In addition, they may be able to gain the support of the Christian evangelical community in the US which also opposes the partition of Jerusalem.
Yitzhak Benhorin contributed to this story