The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) on Friday defended Israel’s right to build new housing for its residents and condemned those who reprimanded the Jewish State for its recent decision to construct new residential units in Jerusalem.
Following the announcement that Jerusalem officials approved the construction of a total 558 new housing units in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Har Homa, Neveh Yaakov, and Pisgat Zeev, the U.S. State Department expressed opposition to the new construction.
The following is a statement from NCYI President Farley Weiss:
“With its religious, historical, and cultural significance to the Jewish people, the importance of Jerusalem’s status as the eternal capital of Israel cannot be overstated. The State of Israel has a legal and historical right to construct new housing units within the confines of its capital city.
We are especially troubled by the U.S. State Department’s criticism of the decision to build new housing units in Jerusalem and its further questioning Israeli sovereignty over the city. The State Department’s position runs counter to the provisions of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which makes clear that it is U.S. law that a united Jerusalem is recognized as the capital of Israel and called for the moving of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. The State Department cannot assume a position that is diametrically opposed to U.S. law, which is what it has inexplicably chosen to do in this situation.
It is especially ironic that although Secretary of State John Kerry voted for the Jerusalem Embassy Act during his time in the U.S. Senate, the State Department under his leadership contends that the future status of Jerusalem is somehow up for discussion.
In July 1999, 84 Senators wrote a letter to then-President Clinton and urged him to comply with the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act (a copy of the letter is attached). Among the signatories of the letter, which was spearheaded by Republican Senator John Kyl of Arizona and Democratic/Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, were current Secretary of State John Kerry, current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. In addition, Senators Charles Schumer and John McCain signed the letter.
In their letter, the Senators noted that the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act ‘contains a statement of U.S. policy that is the law of the land and is not subject to waiver: Jerusalem should remain united and should be recognized as Israel’s capital, with our Embassy located there.’ The Senators noted that the waiver provision only applies to the relocation of the embassy, not to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
While the State Department has taken to trumpeting Secretary of State Kerry’s ‘proud record of over three decades of steadfast support for Israel’s security and well-being,’ then-Senator Kerry’s strong and explicit statement of support for a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is at odds with the State Department’s criticism of new construction in Jerusalem. We urge Secretary Kerry to be consistent with his record as a Senator and to strongly defend Israel’s right to build and the sovereignty of its capital city, Jerusalem.
While the United States has always maintained that Israel’s borders must be safe and secure in order to protect its citizenry, without these areas of Jerusalem being part of Israel and under its governmental control, the reality is that Israel cannot and will not have the ability to properly secure its borders and safeguard its people. It is inconsistent to say you want Israel to have secure borders and at the same time advocate the division of Jerusalem.
Finally, the U.S. Jewish community was very heartened at the Democratic Convention when President Obama personally intervened to ensure that the Democratic platform include U.S. support of an undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The State Department statement is clearly in contradiction of that position. We call on the State Department to retract their criticism of Israel and comply with U.S. law concerning recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”