A group of American Jews urged president-elect Barack Obama on Thursday to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which the international community does not recognize as the capital of the Jewish state.
The move would make the United States the only country to have its main diplomatic mission in Jerusalem, which both Israelis and Palestinians claim as their capital.
The Jerusalem Embassy Act requires the United States to move its embassy to Jerusalem by 1999, but both President George W. Bush and his predecessor Bill Clinton have deferred its implementation every six months.
Some 100 members of the US Jewish Orthodox Union gathered on Thursday near the site which Congress earmarked in a 1995 bill as the location of the future US embassy in west Jerusalem.
They sang American national anthem and held banners reading "President Obama: The US embassy belongs in Israel's capital," as well as a petition addressed to Obama, who takes office on January 20.
"President Obama likes using the word change. It is time for change. Now is the time to show support for Israel by moving the embassy here," Orthodox Union President Stephen Savitsky told AFP.
Former Israeli ambassador to the United States Danny Ayalon said that if the US embassy were moved to Jerusalem, other countries would follow suit.
"When it moves its embassy to Jerusalem, other civilized states will move their embassies here," Ayalon said.
There are no embassies in Jerusalem. They are in the commercial capital Tel Aviv.