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No U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. What Gives?

Forty years after the reunification of Jerusalem, the United States has still yet to move its embassy from Tel-Aviv. Of the 184 countries that the United States has embassies in, the only country where a U.S. embassy is not located in the country’s designated capital is Israel.

In 1995 Congress overwhelmingly passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act which stipulated that the United States must recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and begin moving their embassy to the city. The embassy was supposed to be established no later than 1999. But that date, like so many other benchmarks in the Middle East, passed with little to show. Each year the president postpones the move saying Congress’ resolution was merely advisory and that ultimately all foreign relations issues rest with the president.


What has been holding up the embassy move? Jerusalem has been and continues to be one, if not the most, contested real estate in the world. As Rabbi Grossman correctly points out, Jerusalem has rarely if ever been a ‘City of Peace,’ as it means in Hebrew.

The fact that America continues to prevent its embassy from moving to Jerusalem points to a far larger issue. Namely, the holiest city in the world is also the most dangerous city. The biggest loser in the continued battle over Jerusalem is Jerusalem itself: its heritage, its beauty, and its sacred messages. The continued fighting between Jews and Muslims makes Jerusalem into a war zone instead of the world’s most sacred space. Any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians will more than likely have to include serious compromises on Jerusalem. Maybe one day Muslims and Jews will learn how to share that which is holy. Until then the world will continue to ignore Jerusalem.

Read the Full Debate: Myth vs. Reality in Today’s Jerusalem

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Ronald Cook-Mobile,Alabama

posted June 19, 2007 at 4:01 pm

May the U.S. soon have the chutzpah to do the right thing and recognize Jerusalem as the capital and move its embassy there. And may the rectification soon take place where Jerusalem is not just the capital of the nation of Israel but also the world.

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posted July 3, 2007 at 2:04 pm

Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Period. The U.S. has embassies in lots of dangerous cities. Keeping the embassy in Tel Aviv is inexcusable. Moreover, Tel Aviv, especially in the vicinity of the U.S. embassy, is just as dangerous as Jerusalem. The following is quoted from the U.S. State Department’s current travel warning regarding Israel:
“Israeli authorities are concerned about the continuing threat of suicide bombings. The January 2006 and April 2006, suicide bombings in TEL AVIV, the December 2005 suicide bombing in Netanya and a similar incident in Hadera in October 2005 are reminders of the precarious security environment. Despite the success of Israeli security forces in preventing suicide attacks since April 2006, the threat of such attacks is ongoing. The U.S. Government has received information indicating that American interests could be the focus of terrorist attacks. For that reason, American citizens are cautioned that a greater danger may exist in the vicinity of restaurants, businesses, and other places associated with U.S. interests and/or located near U.S. official buildings, such as the U.S. Embassy in TEL AVIV and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem.”

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