Moving the Embassy is the Right Thing To Do
by Jonathan Bernis

From the first announcement that the U.S. Embassy would move to Jerusalem, I have commended Donald Trump for doing what past presidents promised but never delivered: recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Moving our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is just a natural outgrowth of that recognition. In fact, many Americans initially expressed confusion at this news; they couldn’t imagine why anyone would think Jerusalem was not the capital of Israel.

And why should anyone think otherwise? The national Legislature, the Knesset, meets there. A resolution passed by the U.S. Congress last year recognizes Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. And would it surprise you to know that the platforms of both major U.S. political parties – Democrat and Republican – state that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel?

So President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is the right thing to do and really shouldn’t be controversial at all. We made a decision as a country to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move our embassy there way back in 1995.

So why wasn’t the embassy already in Jerusalem? Because each President has signed a delay order every six months stopping the move.

Expect A Blessing

So truly, it wasn’t President Trump who decided to move the embassy. That decision was made more than two decades ago. The difference is really what Trump didn’t do: He decided not to authorize the delay any longer. So the embassy move is happening, first to a temporary location, which occurred in May, and soon, to a permanent one. And I believe it will result in unprecedented blessing for our nation.

Why would this action bless the United States? Because, in the Bible, God said “I will bless those that bless Israel” (Genesis 12:3). History has demonstrated that this decree is just as true today as it was when first promised some 4,000 years ago. The Amelekites, Jebusites, Canaanites – all the “ites” of history who persecuted Israel – have vanished. Only the Israelites remain. America has experienced the unprecedented blessings of God during our nearly quarter-millennia history, in part because of our treatment of the Jewish people. The Lord warns that anyone who touches her will be punished (see Zechariah 2:8-9).

As Believers, we must look at Israel through God’s eyes and understand that He gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people as an “eternal possession.” It is not the U.N. but Scripture that determines who the Land belongs to. God in His sovereignty gave this Land to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Who are we to question His decision? While we don’t condone all that Israel does, we must understand that this is an unconditional promise in God’s Word.

Moving our embassy is a concrete and irrefutable statement that we support Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This, by extension, reiterates Israel’s right to exist – something her Middle East neighbors will not yet acknowledge – and states loudly that the U.S. stands with Israel. And standing with Israel and the Jewish people is a central part of our mission at Jewish Voice.

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Surprising Opposition

The Jewish State of Israel is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

But those seven decades have been a long struggle from day one. Surrounded by enemies dedicated to its destruction, Israel has miraculously survived against all odds. Most recently, the opposition to Israel has come from a place we have sadly grown to expect: the United Nations (U.N.).

While supposedly dedicated to equal treatment of all countries, the U.N. has shown shocking bias against Israel. Time and again, the U.N. has demonstrated outright anti-Semitism, going to ridiculous lengths to pass resolutions that criticize, isolate and punish Israel. In just the past few years, the U.N. has declared Israel to be tantamount to an apartheid state, asserting that it is:

  • The world’s only violator of women’s rights and mental, physical and environmental health
  • The cause of Palestinian acts of terror, which, on the other hand, were declared to be a natural response to Israel’s presence, and
  • The reason Palestinian men beat their wives

Perhaps most ludicrous of all, the U.N. adopted a resolution denying that Israel has any historic claim to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount or any other Jewish holy sites in the region. The UNESCO resolution instead defined all sites in the Holy Land strictly in Islamic terms and with only Arabic names, effectively declaring that neither Jews nor Christians have any connection to these holy sites.

And now, in its latest anti-Israel and anti-Semitic move, the U.N. passed a draft resolution just this past December that declares it illegal for Israel to declare Jerusalem as its capital city.

It was President Trump’s declaration that the U.S. will move its embassy to Jerusalem that prompted this resolution, which in turn, was vetoed in the Security Council by a single vote – that of the United States – but such a veto by any member is all it takes to kill a resolution.

Resolutions aside, the reality is extremely well documented by both the Bible and secular historians:

  • Jerusalem was established as the capital of Israel by King David 3,000 years ago, which is clearly affirmed in Scripture
  • Modern Israel formally declared Jerusalem its capital in 1980. No other country in the world faces opposition to the location of its own capital city
  • Although under Islamic control until 1967, the holy sites in Israel were not accessible to non-Muslims. Under Jewish control during the subsequent 50 years, all sites have been open to all people. The only exception is the Temple Mount, the holiest of all sites to Jewish people. That site is still restricted to Muslims

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The Backstory

So, if a law was passed to move our embassy to the true capital of Israel back at the close of the 20th century, why haven’t subsequent presidents taken action before this? Here’s the background:

The United States Congress in 1995 overwhelmingly passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and called for the U.S. to move its embassy there by May 31, 1999. But presidents from that time until now – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – have delayed acting on this law, setting it aside every six months “for security reasons.”

Then in June 2017, the U.S. Senate commemorated the 50th anniversary of the reuniting of Jerusalem by unanimously affirming the Jerusalem Embassy Act and calling on the president to move the embassy.

The bottom line is, we have good reason – and every right as a sovereign nation – to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. Failure to establish the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem would be to surrender to anti-Semitic, anti-Israel pressure from the U.N. and Israel’s many enemies.

Even more important, that failure would go against God’s historic and prophetic plans for Israel, for Jerusalem, and for the ultimate return of His Son, Yeshua (Jesus).

But, despite that strong evidence and with all that has happened to move the scenario forward, this matter is not settled. After stating his intention to make the move, President Trump, like his recent predecessors, initially signed a six-month waiver of the Jerusalem Embassy Act to allow time to plan the move. This set in motion a delay until 2019.

As of this writing, the Trump administration has since altered that timeline and moved the embassy into temporary quarters in Jerusalem while construction begins on a structure in the planned permanent location. Guatemala became the first nation to follow suit, with a move of their own to Jerusalem two days later.

This Isn’t Over

But, in the interim, expect to see great pressure applied to thwart this permanent move.

The New York Times recently asserted that the temporary diplomatic compound – in the former Diplomat Hotel – “is in Jerusalem but may not be in Israel.” Their assertion is based on the building lying partly in a contested zone known as No Man’s Land.

No Man’s Land encompasses the area between the armistice lines drawn at the end of the 1948-49 war and was claimed by Jordan and Israel. Israel won full control of it in the 1967 war. While the U.N. and many of Israel’s enemies consider it occupied territory, the U.S. State Department is comfortable with the location because Israel and Jordan agreed to divide the contested area, and the hotel was in Israel’s allotted area.

Beyond the war of words waged by some of the media, stronger opposition will come through the United Nations and, undoubtedly, from some of Israel’s enemies choosing less peaceable methods.

In this sixth edition in the Confessing the Hebrew Scriptures series: El Shaddai, God Almighty, you’ll meditate on inspiring verses describing our sustaining Almighty God. This encouraging volume contains Old and New Covenant verses written in English, Hebrew and the transliteration from Hebrew.

How You Can Pray

Please join us at JVMI in praying for the peace of Israel. I close every one of our Jewish Voice with Jonathan Bernis television programs with this exhortation found in Psalm 122:6. We must pray for God’s plan for Israel and the Jewish people to be fulfilled, for the Messiah to be revealed in the hearts of Jew and Palestinian alike, and for His plan to be brought to completion, culminating in the Lord’s return to earth. Only then will true peace be realized.

As for the embassy, we must not let this successful first step to temporary quarters in Jerusalem allow us to become complacent. We cannot rest until this embassy move is complete, and other nations of the world follow. Please continue to stand with Israel throughout the process and the likely opposition yet to come.

I close with the words of Isaiah 62:6-7 (NIV):

I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.

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