By Rabbi Tuly Weisz
This week Jews and Christian Zionists are rejoicing that President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, and “the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times.” He made his remarks from a room set with a Christmas backdrop, the day before the White House Hanukkah party.
Here are 10 biblical reasons Trump made the right decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel’s capital.
1) Jerusalem is mentioned more than 600 times in the Bible.
“For Zion’s sake I will not be silent and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be still” (Isaiah 62:1).
Jerusalem is referred to by name 662 times in the Bible. There is not a single mention of Jerusalem in Islam’s holy text.
2) King David declared it 3,000 years ago.
“But I chose Jerusalem for My Name to be there, and I chose David to rule over My people Israel” (2 Chronicles 6:6).
No electoral college nor parliament elected Israel’s king. God Almighty selected David as the leader of Israel, and chose Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish kingdom, where King David ruled from for 33 years. While occupied over the centuries by numerous foreign empires, no other nation made Jerusalem its capital city besides the Jewish people. When confronted by critics of Israel’s claim to the holy city, Prime Minister Menachem Begin would retort, “We didn’t declare Jerusalem to be our capital city, King David declared it 3,000 years ago!”
3) The Jews have never forgotten Jerusalem.
“If I forget thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither” (Psalm 137:5).
“I am in the west, but my heart is in the east,” said the famous medieval Jewish poet, Judah Halevi. Even on our happiest days, we pause to reflect upon the destruction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. At all Jewish weddings, the groom declares from under the bridal canopy, “If I forget thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither,” and breaks a glass to serve as a sad reminder that no occasion is completely joyous in the absence of the Holy Temple.
4) The sovereign state of Israel established Jerusalem as its capital city.
“Thus said the Lord, ‘I have returned to Zion, and I have made My dwelling in the midst of Jerusalem'” (Zechariah 8:3).
The Israeli government decided that the shekel is its national currency, Hatikvah is its national anthem, and its capital city is Jerusalem. Placing an embassy in any other Israeli city denies Israel her sovereignty and is unheard of in world politics. Israel is the only country in the world where America’s Embassy is not in its functioning capital … until now.
5) Throughout history there has been an uninterrupted Jewish presence in Jerusalem.
“Judah will exist forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation” (Joel 4:20).
The first epic tale of biblical heroism takes place when Abraham takes his son, Isaac, to Mount Moriah (today the Temple Mount) to offer him there as a burnt offering. That same site is where David establishes the seat of his Kingdom, where his son Solomon builds the First Temple, and after its destruction, where the Second Temple is also erected. Despite numerous attempts to exile the Jewish community from the Land of Israel, the Jews have remained faithful to Judaism’s holiest city.
6) Jerusalem is the focus of Jewish practices.
“Arise, let us ascend to Zion, to the Lord our God” (Jeremiah 31:5).
Jews make constant reference to Jerusalem in our daily blessings and prayers. At mealtimes, Jews beseech the Almighty to, “Build up the holy city of Jerusalem.” And at the conclusion of every Yom Kippur service and Passover Seder, we fervently declare, “Next year in Jerusalem!”
7) Only Israel protects the holy sites of all faiths.
“My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples” (Isaiah 56:7).
Even at the peak of ancient Jewish nationalism, during the times of the Temple, the priests and Levites serving in Jerusalem warmly embraced the worship and sacrificial offerings of Jew and gentile alike. Judaism does not see itself as having a monopoly on truth or being the only path to God, but rather has deep respect for all monotheistic faiths. In contrast, when Muslims controlled Jerusalem up until 1967, ancient Jewish and Christian holy sites were ransacked and disgraced. Today, the holy city flourishes once again. It is open to all religions and welcomes millions of pilgrims each year from all over the world.
8) Jews worldwide pray in the direction of Jerusalem.
“May God bless you from Zion, and may you gaze upon the goodness of Jerusalem, all the days of your life” (Psalm 128:5).
Every synagogue in the world is built facing Jerusalem. Synagogues in North America are built facing east, while synagogues in Asia face west, so that whenever a Jew prays, he or she faces Jerusalem. On the other hands, Muslims, even while they are praying on the Temple Mount, turn their prayer rugs in the direction of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Palestinians living in other parts of Israel turn their backs to Jerusalem altogether while praying.
9) American law already requires the embassy to move to Jerusalem.
“Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, have I posted guardians all day and all night, continuously, they will never be silent” (Isaiah 62:6).
In 1995, the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act was passed by the 104th Congress by a sweeping vote of 93-5 in the Senate and 374-37 in the House of Representatives. Eighteen years ago, Congress passed a law “initiating and funding the relocation of the Embassy of the United States in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no later than May 31, 1999.” Expressing the will of the American people, the act also called for, “Jerusalem to remain an undivided city and for it to be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.”
10) The name Jerusalem contains a blessing for peace.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; those who love you will be serene” (Psalm 122:6).
While Palestinians are threatening three days of violence and rage, the essence of Jerusalem emerges from its sacred Hebrew name, Yerushalayim. At its core is the Hebrew word “shalom,” which has three meanings in Hebrew: hello, goodbye and peace. Shalom is the way friends greet one another; it is how Israelis answer their phones and begin emails. But, shalom is also a blessing. Peace is the most important gift we can ask from God, on an individual level, as families and between countries. It is therefore of utmost significance that the world’s holiest city, Jerusalem, has shalom at its core, because only when Jerusalem is at peace, can the whole world finally enjoy peace on earth. Let us pray that now that America has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, we will begin to enjoy peace in the holy city.
Rabbi Tuly Weisz is the founder of Israel365.com, which connects Christian Zionists with Israel and strives to be a light unto the nations. Rabbi Weisz is also the Publisher of BreakingIsraelNews.com and TheIsraelBible.com.