Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization – applauded President Donald Trump for his historic change of U.S. government policy toward the status of Jerusalem – the ancient and current capital of Israel and the Jewish People.
Over 3000 years ago, King David constructed the holy city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. For millennia, Jews around the world directed their prayers toward Jerusalem and prayed to return to Jerusalem. Indeed, the prayer to return to Jerusalem is invoked at the conclusions of the sacred Yom Kippur service and the Passover Seder. In 1948, when the modern State of Israel was miraculously founded, its leaders – of course – chose Jerusalem as the capital even though Arab armies occupied Judaism’s holiest sites. With G-d’s help, the city was reunited in 1967 and it has flourished ever since. Under Israeli rule, Jerusalem is an open city where people of all faiths may freely visit and worship at their holy sites.
Sadly, and from our perspective wrongly, the international community has ignored the history of Jerusalem and its centrality in the lives and faith of the Jewish people. Moreover, the responsible stewardship for the holy city provided by the State of Israel is largely ignored. In 1995, the United States Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act – legislation advocated for by the Orthodox Union. The 1995 Act established as a matter of U.S. policy the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and required the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. While Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama each pledged to implement this commitment, none of them did. Today, President Trump began to fulfill this promise.
Allen Fagin – Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union stated:
“For the past twenty-two years, the Orthodox Union has persistently and proudly advocated for Presidents and their Administrations to do the right thing – consistent with the duly enacted law – and move our Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem.” (See our timeline here) “Therefore – today – we applaud President Trump for his historic announcement and for beginning the process of relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.”
Mark (Moishe) Bane – President of the Orthodox Union stated:
“We commend President Trump for doing what is not just the right thing to do, but what is actually the common sense thing to do – to have America’s embassy in the chosen capital city of a close ally, the State of Israel.”
Nathan J. Diament – Director of Public Policy for the Orthodox Union stated:
“We believe this announcement by President Trump is not only the right thing to do with regard to Jerusalem, it is the right thing to do for those who hope for a long term arrangement for peace and security in the region. The President’s policy makes clear that the path forward is one of negotiation between the parties, not counterproductive steps nor stalemate.”