As expected, there was no shortage of criticism in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The President’s announcement last Wednesday put into motion a 22-year-old decision by the U.S. Congress to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Media outlets in Israel, including The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post, have been highly supportive of the decision and are keeping this developing story front and center. Coverage elsewhere in the world has been much more critical.
Among developments in the past week:
— In Israel, dozens of Arab Israelis demonstrated outside the American embassy in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, decrying Trump’s decision. Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and carried signs criticizing the President. During the unrest, rock-throwers targeted a passenger bus, smashing windows and slightly injuring the driver.
— In Iran, where hatred of Israel and support for the Palestinian cause have long been the national stance, the Iranian defense minister denounced the decision earlier this week, saying, “(The President’s) step will hasten the destruction of the Zionist regime and will double the unity of Muslims.”
A few hundred Iranians rallied on Monday against Israel. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also spoke at the poorly attended event, saying the U.S. move was the result of “paralysis and incompetence.”
— In Lebanon, the leader of the Hezbollah radical Muslim terrorist organization said Trump’s decision “will be the beginning of the end of Israel.” Speaking at a massive rally in Beirut, he said his group and its allies would renew their focus on the Palestinian cause. Railing against America, he lead supporters in chanting, “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!”
The terrorist leader called for an intifada, or violent uprising against Israel, and echoed the Gaza-based Palestinian terror group Hamas, which has called for intensified violence against Israel. He also urged the Palestinian Authority to sever diplomatic ties with allies of Israel, and called on Jordan and Egypt to repeal their peace treaties with the Jewish state.
— In Saudi Arabia, a former Saudi intelligence chief criticized President Trump in one of the sharpest reactions from the normally U.S.-allied kingdom. Writing in the Saudi newspaper, Al Jazeera, he said, “Bloodshed and mayhem will definitely follow your opportunistic attempt to make electoral gain.”
“Your action has equally emboldened Iran and its terrorist minions to claim that they are the legitimate defenders of Palestinian rights,” he added, referring to the Saudis’ arch enemy, Iran.
His negative comments are unusual, as Saudi Arabia has recently sought better ties with Washington, especially in light of the President’s well-known disapproval of America’s controversial nuclear agreement with Iran.
We must stand strong in our decision
Whenever the United States acts in the best interest of Israel, our strongest and most reliable ally in the region (and the only nation in the Middle East with a democratically elected government), you can count on this kind of over-the-top rhetoric and violent demonstration. Especially from Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas – but also from more moderate Arab nations that oppose Israel.
It is important to note that, despite some media spin, President Trump did not decide to move the U.S. embassy last week. Since Congress voted way back in 1995 to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move our embassy there, each President since has always signed a delay order every six months. What President Trump did last week was to reiterate our recognition of Jerusalem and start the process necessary to complete the embassy move.
I wrote in last week’s Middle East Update that the President’s decision was the right thing to do, and now is the right time to do it.
While the U.S. is on solid ground with this decision in regard to our foreign policy, I believe even more strongly that we’re on solid ground theologically and prophetically. God’s Word is clear: He will deliver on His promise of deliverance for the Jewish people AND on His promise to bless those who bless Israel.
I encourage you to join me in supporting not only our great ally Israel and her people, but also this decision by President Trump. Those who hate Israel will rail against us to encourage discord across the region, inflame radical Muslim anger and encourage violence against Israel and America. But we must not back down.
I urge everyone to pray for the peace of Israel and for calm heads to prevail in the Middle East at this pivotal time in history.
Israel is at the center of God’s End Time plans. These events along with the passions and rhetoric swirling around them do not take Him by surprise. Your love for Israel and the Jewish people are such a blessing to us, and we’ll continue to keep you up to date on this developing situation.
Thank you so much for standing with Israel and for your friendship with Jewish Voice. Through your support, you touch thousands of lives with humanitarian aid and the Good News of Yeshua (Jesus). You are making a difference.