Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush and Senior Vice President Richard Verber have welcomed the decision of the United States to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
They said: “It is bizarre that this decision should be seen as remarkable.
“Jerusalem has been the spiritual centre of Jewish life for 3,000 years, since the time of King David. As soon as Israel declared independence in 1948, it declared Jerusalem as its capital and placed its parliament in the West of the city, in territory recognised as Israel by the international community.
“Given that Jerusalem is in fact historically, presently and legally Israel’s capital, the decision by many countries not to formally recognise this has been an act of post-truth petulance. Jerusalem is home to the country’s legislature, Prime Ministry and Supreme Court. Upon their appointment, diplomats already present their credentials to the President at his residence in Jerusalem. Since the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has shown itself to be a far more reliable guardian of the holy places of Jews, Christians and Muslims than any of its predecessors in recent centuries.
“In recent years, a number of states have used bodies such as UNESCO to pass motions that deny the Jewish connection to sites like the historic Jewish temple of Jerusalem. These decades-long attempts to deny simple facts to appease the prejudices of Israel’s enemies has encouraged anti-rationalist tendencies that stand in the way of peace.
“We hope that other countries will follow suit in recognising the undeniable reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. We also hope that this move will not stand in a vacuum. Israelis and Palestinians alike should take the opportunity to return to the negotiating table and address the final status issues of mutual recognition, security, borders, refugees and Jerusalem, to forge a lasting peace.”
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