As final touches were being made to the official embassy opening events Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted: “A great day for Israel!”
Earlier, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told an audience at a breakfast hosted by the Orthodox Union in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Yerushalayim that President Donald Trump’s decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim is proving to be the president’s most popular decision to date with the American public.
As Trump speaks around the U.S. ahead of mid-term elections, Friedman said, the “biggest applause lines he gets every time is when he reminds people he’s moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“It is the single most popular thing he has done, and the encouragement from the entire American community is more than heartwarming.”
Friedman praised Trump for his “courage, vision, strength and moral clarity.”
He explained that Americans support the recognition of Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital for several reasons.
For “those of us who are emotionally, intellectually, politically connected to Israel, of course this is something we have been waiting for 70 years,” said Friedman.
“But even those in the American community who are not as connected to the State of Israel, they applaud the president’s decision because they applaud the United States when it returns to the leadership of the world, when it returns to moral clarity, when it returns to truth, when it supports its allies including its best friend and ally, the State of Israel. These are the values the people of the United States hold dear.”
Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s Middle East peace envoy, said on Twitter that “taking the long-overdue step of moving our Embassy is not a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace deal. Rather, it is a necessary condition for it.”
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that “this is an incredible moment.”
He added that “I’m thrilled to be here on behalf of the president. It’s a big day – moving the embassy here. Seventy years in the making. We’re thrilled to be here representing the president to do this.”
“We are prepared to face the Hamas threats to disrupt the [embassy] festivities,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman tweeted.
“My recommendation to the residents of Gaza: Don’t be blinded by [Hamas’s Gaza leader, Yehya Al-] Sinwar, who is sending your children to sacrifice their lives without any utility. We will defend our citizens with all measures and will not allow the fence to be crossed.”
On Monday afternoon (Israel time), the move was set to take place with a celebratory ceremony hosted by Friedman, attended by a large U.S. delegation and hundreds of dignitaries.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Monday that Britain has no plans to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim and still disagrees with the U.S. decision to do so.
“The PM said in December when the announcement was first made that we disagree with the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement. The British embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it,” the spokesman told reporters.