Front of the US Jerusalem Consulate (now the Embassy) [ Amir Mann / Ami Shinar Architects & planners ltd.]
Seventy years after the US recognized the Jewish state of Israel in its biblical homeland, the Trump administration has moved to finally transfer its embassy to the capital, Jerusalem.
The opening ceremony was attended by Israeli president Reuben Rivlin, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the First Family were represented by Trump’s daughter Ivanka, and husband Jared Kushner, both of whom are Jewish and hold official positions in Washington.
Diplomats from dozens of countries indicated that they would be attending, with the Israeli Foreign Ministry noting participants from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Angola, Paraguay, Cameroon, Romania, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Honduras.
Last night the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted an event celebrating the delegations’ arrival. Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke of Trump’s “bold decision”, and expressed the fervent hope that other countries follow suit and recognize the reality that Israel’s capital has been, is, and always will be in Jerusalem. “Move your embassies because it’s the right thing to do. Move your embassies because it advances peace. and that’s because you can’t base peace on a foundation of lies. You base peace on the foundations of truth, and the truth is that not only has Jerusalem been the capital of the Jewish people for millennia and the capital of our state from its inception, the truth is that under any peace agreement you could possibly imagine, Jerusalem will remain Israel’s capital.”
Initially, the embassy will be largely symbolic. Today’s ceremonial transfer is only the beginning of a process that will last several years, but the ambassador’s bureau will be based in Jerusalem and thus enable him to work and hold meetings on-site. In total, 50 people will be moved to the embassy, and the US will continue to offer services from other sites around the country until the new building is complete.