Seventy years ago yesterday the modern state of Israel was created. Thanks to Donald Trump this date now has another joyous significance for Jews. For May 14 will also be known as the day when the US embassy relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, cementing the historical truth that this city of light and faith is Israel’s eternal capital.
The significance of this move should not be understated. It strengthens Israel’s geopolitical position and bolsters Jewish sense of identity and connection with Israel. For too long we Jews have been denied our claim to Jerusalem by Islamists and their Western useful idiots. But from yesterday we entrench our relationship to what is rightfully ours – a city for which we have yearned for more than two thousand years.
Despite false and bizarre accusations that Trump enables anti-Semitism he has done more to enhance the legitimacy and security of the Jewish state than any US president, other than Harry Truman who supported the establishment of Israel, born in the ashes of the Holocaust.
In 1995 the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act which recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and allocated funds for the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama repeatedly delayed implementing this Act, citing excuse after excuse. By finally enacting the Jerusalem Embassy Act Trump has achieved what these presidents promised but neglected to do. Their weakness and cowardice when it comes to Israel serves only to highlight Trump’s courage and strength.
I am reminded today of the beautiful song Yerushalayim shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold) which became an anthem for Israeli soldiers who fought in the Six Day War and liberated East Jerusalem from the Jordanians to reunify the city. Jerusalem is indeed a city of gold – a life-enhancing, exhilarating, deeply spiritual site.
For 3,000 years Jerusalem has been the centre of our faith and the capital of Israel. It is where the Knesset and the Supreme Court are located. Jews, Muslims and Christians live side by side in this holy place where the three Abrahamic faiths converge. Whenever I visit this frenetic city I seek out the Kotel (Western Wall) to touch the sacred stones and to connect with God. Jerusalem is where I can walk down the same streets as my great-grandfather once did. Jerusalem is also where my favourite cousin lives with her family. And it is the place where, like my ancestors, I can celebrate the Sabbath in the old City. Jerusalem is a timeless city and is where I feel the most peaceful and safe in this world.
I am always appreciative of the men and women of the Israeli Defense Force who protect the Jewish state, our safety net in a world of ever-growing anti-Semitism. Today their task has been made easier by Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to relocate the US embassy there. The celebrations in Israel exemplify our joy, relief and gratitude. In this age of distortion and lies, it is refreshing to see rightful and truthful history being acknowledged by the leader of most powerful country of the world and Israel’s greatest ally.