The National Council of Young Israel today expressed disappointment following President Obama’s recent decision to again postpone the implementation of a law which calls for the U.S. Embassy in Israel to be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 called for Jerusalem to be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel and mandated that the U.S. Embassy in Israel be constructed in Jerusalem.
In his December 3, 2013 presidential declaration to Secretary of State Kerry, President Obama cited the need to “protect the national security interests of the United States” when he suspended the law for an additional six months.
Although the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 required that the U.S. Embassy be moved to Jerusalem, there was a presidential waiver included in the legislation, which enabled U.S. Presidents to avoid having to move the embassy to the Israeli capital based on national security reasons. That waiver has been used by successive United States Presidents since the law’s passage to prevent the American Embassy from being relocated to Jerusalem.
“Although the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 gives extensive and full recognition of a united Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the White House has once again chosen to circumvent the intent of this law by failing to relocate the American Embassy in Israel to its rightful place,” said Farley Weiss, President of the National Council of Young Israel. “By sending mixed messages about the status of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States is unintentionally undermining the legitimacy of the city that is the sovereign capital of the State of Israel.”
Weiss noted that the waiver provision in the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 only applies to the relocation of the embassy, not to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Further, Weiss pointed out that at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the Democratic Party, reportedly at the insistence of President Obama, restored language to its official platform which declared that “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.”
“In addition to the historical and religious significance that Jerusalem holds for the Jewish people, this extraordinary city is Israel’s eternal capital,” said Robert Levi, Chairman of the Board of the National Council of Young Israel. “As the indisputable capital of the State of Israel, Jerusalem should be treated no differently by the United States than any other capital city throughout the world.”
“As the United States continues to work in tandem with Israel, its only democratic ally in the Middle East, on a plethora of important issues, the relocation of its embassy to Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem as a show of good faith would undoubtedly go a long a way in further cementing the unbreakable bond between these two nations,” said Yosef Poplack, 1st Vice President of the National Council of Young Israel.
“Every sovereign nation in the world has the power to designate its own capital city,” added Poplack. “These capital cities are then universally recognized as such and other nations traditionally locate their embassies there. The one exception to this rule is Israel, whose designation of Jerusalem as its capital city has repeatedly been ignored by the international community.”