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US and Israel flags on Old City walls in Jerusalem
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US Embassy move a significant milestone
Op-ed: While the move is mostly symbolic, it’s hard to overstate the importance of opening an American embassy in Jerusalem. In fact, in terms of US-Israel relations, this event is almost as important as President Truman’s historic decision to recognize the State of Israel minutes after its Declaration of Independence.
The phrase “a historic moment” usually serves as a cliché. In Israel, every road opening and every community center inauguration is “a historic moment.” But on Monday, shortly after 4 pm, all of us, the members of this generation, got to witness a historic moment, a moment which will be remembered in the history of the State of Israel as a really significant milestone.

 

 

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who played a significant part in moving the embassy to Jerusalem, began his speech by mentioning another historic moment in the State of Israel’s history. Eleven minutes after the Israeli Declaration of Independence by David Ben-Gurion on May 14, 1948, US President Harry Truman made a critical decision and announced the United States’ recognition of the State of Israel.

 

President Trump's video message during embassy opening. A real historic moment (Photo: Amit Shabi)
President Trump's video message during embassy opening. A real historic moment (Photo: Amit Shabi)

 

Truman made the decision despite advice he had received from some of his advisors, who were concerned about the fate of America’s relations with the Arab world, going against the opinion of many in the world. On the other hand, it’s hard to overstate the significance of that decision for the young State of Israel, which was in the middle of a battle of life and death.

 

The State of Israel of 2018, 70 years later, is no longer in a constant battle for its existence. While Israel is almost the only country with enemies that wish to destroy it, its existence is a fait accompli, even among its most bitter enemies. Nevertheless, it’s hard to overstate the importance of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, even if the move is mostly symbolic. In fact, in terms of US-Israel relations, this event is almost as important as the historic decision made by President Truman.

 

If recognizing the establishment of the State of Israel was a recognition of our existence here, recognizing Jerusalem as the State of Israel’s capita is a recognition of our identity. Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel is the strongest reflection of the Jewish people’s fundamental connection to their land, Land of Israel. This connection is reflected in many ways, but primarily in choosing Jerusalem, the capita of David and Solomon, Hezekiah and Josiah, as the capital of the State of Israel.

 

Trump's daughter, Ivanka, unveils the embassy plaque (Photo: AFP)
Trump's daughter, Ivanka, unveils the embassy plaque (Photo: AFP)

 

The American decision to recognize this connection in practice, by moving the embassy, has changed the entire attitude towards the Israeli-Arab conflict. The Land of Israel is no longer a night refuge for the Jewish people; the Land of Israel is the Jewish people’s lawful land.

 

Two people are responsible for this historic move, whose full significance will be seen in the future: US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two of them led the move despite the group of skeptics both in Israel and in the US who dismissed the possibility of an embassy move. One doesn’t have to like them to recognize the fact that their names will forever be remembered in the history of the Jewish people as the people responsible for this historic move.

 


First published: 05.15.18, 18:05
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