Christian leaders representing 60 million members of the faith across America have sent President Trump a letter asking him to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the country’s capital, Jerusalem.
The non-profit Liberty Counsel reports the letter calls for the move – which was directed by Congress in 1995 – to be made “at long last.”
Trump is scheduled to become the first incumbent U.S. president to visit the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem next week. He’ll also visit Masada and Bethlehem, officials have announced.
“Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel. King David established Jerusalem as the capital of Israel 3,000 years ago,” said Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel and president of Christians in Defense of Israel.
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“It has been, is, and shall remain the capital of Israel. It is time America recognized the obvious. To not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel contradicts the Bible, history and present-day reality. Refusal to recognize Jerusalem is anti-Semitic. It’s time for the United States to move the embassy to Jerusalem, and the president’s visit to Israel would be an ideal time for him to make that announcement,” he said.
The letter, signed by about five dozen Christian leaders, was delivered this week to the president.
The letter states, “The time has come, at long last, to uphold American law by moving the U.S. embassy to Israel’s eternal indivisible capital city of Jerusalem.”
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It references the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, adopted by votes of 93-5 in the Senate and 374-37 in the House, which instructed that the embassy be moved by May 31, 1999.
Yet it gives the president broad discretion to determine whether moving the embassy is in the “national security interests” of the United States.
“The Republican National Convention’s official 2016 platform rightly stated, ‘We recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state and call for the American embassy to be moved there in fulfillment of U.S. law. Moreover, we were honored and grateful that you pledged to specifically uphold this policy in response to a request from the American Christian Leaders for Israel coalition during your campaign. Many of our constituents cast their vote for you due to this commitment,'” the letter said.
Staver, who will arrive in Israel the same day as the president, will lead a team of Christian college students from 30 schools as part of the Covenant Journey outreach.
His Liberty Counsel organization has, along with Christians in Defense of Israel, an affiliated ministry, created the “Why Israel Matters” television series, which currently is airing on TBN.
WND reported in January a delegation of Republican senators proposing freezing some State Department funding until the U.S. Embassy is moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
It was at a time when the Obama administration, which refused to recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, had only days left in power.
WND columnist Star Parker said Trump’s upcoming trip to Israel would be a great time to fulfill Congress’ plan.
“It was in the Israeli victory in the Six-Day War, 50 years ago, in 1967, defeating the attacking armies of Israel’s three neighboring countries – Egypt, Jordan and Syria – that Israel captured East Jerusalem, held by Jordan, and united it with West Jerusalem, held by Israel,” she explained.
“The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem delivered a strategy paper to President Trump, which includes my organization CURE as a signatory, urging him to move the embassy to Jerusalem. The paper quickly gets to the heart of the matter, saying that hesitance to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, because of ‘fear of Islamic backlash,’ is not policy ‘based on principle, fairness and historical right, but it is based solely on weakness and fear.'”
She explained, “If the United States wants to further peace in the Middle East, and elsewhere, the best start is to demonstrate clear, principled leadership, defined by our free principles and not by intimidation.”
She added, “Nothing defines the unique relationship between the United States and Israel more than the scripture from the book of Leviticus in our Bible inscribed on the Liberty Bell – ‘Proclaim Liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.'”