Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
The question of Israel’s capital city suddenly has become a hot-button political issue, and a pair of former WND columnists is now running for office to make sure that once and for all, Jerusalem is declared the capital.
Jeremy Gimpel and Ari Abramowitz, creators of the “Israel Inspired” videos and makers of “Tuesday Night Live in Jerusalem,” the largest English-speaking TV show broadcast internationally from Israel, have announced their candidacy for the nation’s governing body, the Knesset, on the central platform of demanding the world finally recognize Jerusalem as capital of the Jewish state.
Their entry into the fray is only the latest in a string of news items about the controversy that has exploded on the international scene in the last few days.
As WND reported, last week the two most senior correspondents in the White House press room – Connie Lawn of USA Radio Network and WND’s Les Kinsolving – asked Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, to answer whether the Obama administration considered Jerusalem or Tel Aviv to be the capital of Israel – only to be refused a coherent answer.
Over the weekend, however, according to an Associated Press report, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney stood on Israeli soil and openly declared Jerusalem to be the nation’s capital.
Even the Olympics have been caught up in the controversy, when it was discovered the British Broadcasting Corporations’ website covering the games listed Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, while not listing a capital city for Israel at all. As WND reported, the website was amended after Israeli protest, but still only lists Jerusalem as Israel’s “seat of government,” while explaining that “most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv.”
The changes, however, have failed to smooth over ruffled feathers.
“We cannot accept those who deny our history, our sovereignty, and our right to determine our own capital,” said Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. “Irrespective of the BBC’s political agenda, Jerusalem is, was, and always will be the capital of Israel.”
The controversy over the nation’s capital exists because many Jews, as well as many of Israel’s supporters around the world, have long understood that Jerusalem is more that just the capital of the country, but the heart and soul of the Jewish people’s understanding of returning to the land of their forefathers.
And even though the presidential residence, government offices, supreme court and Knesset are located in Jerusalem – designated as the capital city by Jewish law – the United Nations doesn’t recognize Jerusalem’s place, and most nations’ embassies, therefore, are located in Israel’s northern city of Tel Aviv. In fact, not a single nation on earth diplomatically recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Even the U.S., long considered one of Israel’s most faithful allies, has fudged its position on the capital controversy as incoherently as Carney answered the press corps.
For example, in 1995 Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, a resolution supporting recognition of a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and declaring “the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.” But the act has yet to be carried out, as President Clinton’s administration believed the act was an unconstitutional invasion of presidential authority. No president has yet to act on the 1995 resolution.
In another example, Congress in 2002 passed a law that would allow Jerusalem-born Americans to list “Israel” as their birth country, but Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have refused to allow it, citing the sensitive and unsettled status of the city.
For many of the Jewish faith, this steadfast refusal to recognize Jerusalem is nothing less than a slap in the face to their culture and a symbolic undermining of their national sovereignty.
In the following video, Gimpel and Abramowitz display dramatically the heart of the Jewish cry to rebuild Jerusalem and call the U.S. State Department’s refusal to recognize the capital city “a tragedy.”
“The administration’s refusal to take a courageous stand for truth, to honorably reflect the will of the American people and to loyally defend an indispensable ally? It’s a tragedy,” states Abramowitz.
“We want our greatest ally to take a stand,” says Gimpel, “and to lead the way for the rest of the world to recognize Jerusalem as our capital.”