Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called US President Donald Trump's Jerusalem declaration on Wednesday "an important milestone in the history of Jerusalem," urging other countries to follow suit.
"This is a historic day," Netanyahu said in a video statement following Trump's announcement that the US now officially recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital and his intention to move the US embassy to the holy city in the coming year.
Netanyahu noted that "Jerusalem has been our capital for 3,000 years. Here our forefathers walked, and here stood the Temple, here reigned the kings of Israel, here preached the prophets of Israel."
"For thousands of years, generations of Jews prayed for 'next year in Jerusalem.' On the rivers of Babylon and the walls of the Warsaw ghetto, generations upon generations cried and dreamed of Zion," Netanyahu continued.
"About 70 years ago, we fulfilled our prayers and yearnings, when we once again established Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state. Now comes the historical statement by President Trump that recognizes these basic facts," he added.
Praising Trump for his "just and courageous decision," the Israeli prime minister asserted that "President Trump's statement helps promote peace because it connects everyone to reality. The simple truth and reality is this—there will be no peace without recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."
The premier concluded by reaching a hand in peace to neighboring Arab nations who joined together in opposition of Trump's move, clarifying that Israel "will continue to maintain the status quo in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and the freedom of worship for all religions," and "will continue to extend a hand in peace to the Palestinians and all our neighbors."
"Mr. President, history and the Jewish people will always remember your brave decision on this day. Thank you," he ended.
Netanyahu was joined in by the president, ministers, MK and mayors who all thanked Trump for his declaration and expressed hope it will set an example for other nations worldwide.
President Reuven Rivlin congratulated Trump, saying "there is no more fitting or beautiful gift" to be given as Israel approaches 70 years of independence.
"After the jubilee—fifty years after the reunification of the city—the time has come to bring tranquility to Jerusalem, and to see hope blossom in the capital of Israel, the place where pilgrims come from around the world," he added.
"The recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the relocation of all embassies to the city, is a landmark in the recognition of the right of the Jewish people to our land, and a milestone on our road to peace—peace for all the residents of Jerusalem, and the whole region."
President Rivlin concluded by stressing that "Jerusalem is not, and never will be, an obstacle to peace for those who want peace."
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said Trump's declaration is a "historic declaration that sends a clear message to the entire world that the United States stands alongside the Jewish people, the State of Israel and Jerusalem."
"As a gesture and expression of the courageous friendship between the American people and the Jewish people, we decided to illuminate the walls of the Old City with the colors of the American and Israeli flags," Barkat announced, ending by reciting the Shehecheyanu blessing to celebrate the occasion.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai also supported Trump's declaration, saying that while he happily welcomes any ambassador coming to Israel, as all nations' embassies are stationed in Tel Aviv, "our capital is Jerusalem and I would be happy if all the embassies would pass from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the capital."
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon commented that "Sometimes, even the obvious must be said. Tonight, President Trump's political statement told us the obvious—unified Jerusalem is the capital of Israel."
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman disputed claims that Trump's move could stand in the way of future peace agreements, claiming it "creates an opportunity to intensify the political dialogue."
Education Minister Naftali Bennett thanked Trump, noting that "On May 15, 1948, the United States, led by President Truman, became the first nation to recognize the newly proclaimed State of Israel," and that "The rest of the world followed."
"President Truman did so despite the great pressures from home. Today, the United States, led by President Trump, became the first nation in the world to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people. The capital of the State of Israel," he said, adding that Trump too was "under tremendous pressure," but made his declerations despite it.
"We expect the rest of the world to follow in your footsteps," he stated. "Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,020 years, and will remain our capital forever."
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked stated that the Palestinians need to be aware that "the rules of the game have changed. The ship changed direction."
"I recommend that they not test Israel's patience with their terror threats," she added, responding to Hamas' threats that Trump's declaration "opened the gates of hell," and will lead to increased tensions and violence.
Speaker of the Knesset Yoel Edelstein echoed Shaked's statement, calling upon the citizens of Israel to "believe in the righteousness of our path and not be alarmed by threats."
Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) commented that while "for all of us, Israelis," Jerusalem being the capital of Israel is "obvious," it is "not so obvious for the international community."
"For three thousand years Jerusalem has been the beating heart of Zionist existence, the reason why we are all here," she stressed.
No other country has its embassy in Jerusalem.
Two small Latin American states, El Salvador and Costa Rica, previously had embassies in Jerusalem before shifting them to Tel Aviv in 2006, saying they wanted to abide with international norms.