The United States officially opened its embassy to Israel in Yerushalayim on Monday.
“Today we open the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel,” U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said at the beginning of the inaugural ceremony, attended by a U.S. delegation from Washington and Israeli leaders.
Friedman: The United States Leads the Way
Noting the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, Friedman noted that America — which was the first country to recognize the State of Israel, under President Harry Truman — has now taken “a step awaited, voted upon, and litigated and prayed for for all these years.”
“Again the United States leads the way” in relocating the embassy, he said.
The move is the result of the “the vision, the courage and the moral clarity” of President Donald J. Trump, to whom we owe an “enormous and eternal debt of gratitude,” said Friedman.
Religious Leaders Offer Blessings, Thank Trump
After Ambassador Friedman, Pastor Robert Jeffress delivered a blessing. He thanked Trump for his “tremendous leadership” and for supporting “our most reliable ally in the Middle East.”
He was followed by Rabbi Zalman Wolowick, Chabad Rabbi of the Five Towns, who also delivered a blessing and expressed his hope for peace.
“This Jewish people’s attachment to this city has never waned or faltered,” said Rabbi Wolowick, referring to Yerushalayim.
“We applaud and thank the United States of America and President Donald Trump for standing for this truth” and for supporting Israel “on the world stage,” he said.
Trump: Embassy Move ‘A Long Time Coming’
In a recorded message played at the event, President Trump said that the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem is “a long time coming.”
“Israel is a sovereign nation, with the right like any other sovereign nation to designate its capital,” said the president.
He stressed that Washington still seeks to make a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Our greatest hope is for peace,” said Trump.
“The United States remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement,” Trump said. “The United States will always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of freedom and peace.”
“This city and entire nation is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people,” said Trump.
“May there be peace. May G-d bless this embassy. May G-d bless all who serve there. And may G-d bless America.”
Secretary Mnuchin, Ivanka Trump Unveil Seal on Embassy
Next, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, unveiled the seal on the U.S. Embassy in Yerushalayim.
Mnuchin pulled the blue curtain away to reveal the large seal: Embassy of the United States, Jerusalem, ISRAEL
Rivlin: Finally, a Leader Who Promised – And Kept His Promise
President Reuven Rivlin spoke next.
“President Trump, the Israeli people thanks you for keeping your word, for your courage, for your determination, and for your firm, unwavering stand alongside the State of Israel. We hope and expect that other nations will follow your path and your leadership,” said the president.
“We will continue to safeguard Jerusalem as a city of peace, as a home to all those of faith,” he said.
Rivlin noted that many U.S. presidential candidates pledged the embassy move, but never followed through.
“Finally, we have a leader who promised this and also kept his promise,” he said to wide applause.
Kushner: Embassy Move Shows the World Can Trust the U.S.
Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and his senior adviser on the Middle East, was the next speaker. He said that the United States showed the world it could be trusted by opening its Israeli embassy in Jerusalem.
“When President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it,” Kushner said. “Today also demonstrates American leadership. By moving our embassy to Jerusalem, we have shown the world once again that the United States can be trusted,” he said.
“We stand with our friends and our allies, and above all else, we’ve shown that the United States of America will do what’s right,” he said.
“As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today, those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution,” he said.
He said that the “journey to peace started with a strong America recognizing the truth.”
“We believe it is possible for both sides to gain more than they give, so that all people can live in peace – safe from danger, free from fear, and able to pursue their dreams,” Kushner said.
“Jerusalem must remain a city that brings people of all faiths together,” he said.
He also addressed the challenge from Iran a week after Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal despite pressure from European allies to stick with the agreement.
“Iran’s aggression threatens the many peace-loving citizens throughout the region and the world. From Israel to Jordan to Egypt to Saudi Arabia and beyond, many leaders are fighting to modernize their countries and create better lives for their people,” Kushner said.
“In confronting common threats, and in pursuit of common interests, previously unimaginable opportunities and alliances are starting to emerge,” he noted.
Netanyahu: U.S. Embassy Opening ‘A Great Day’
The next speaker, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, said that the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem will be remembered in Israel for generations.
“This is a great day. A great day for Jerusalem. A great day for the state of Israel. A day that will be engraved in our national memory for generations,” Netanyahu said, “but I believe it’s also a great day for peace.”
The prime minister thanked President Trump for “having the courage” to keep his promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
Netanyahu concluded his speech calling Jerusalem the “eternal, undivided capital of Israel.”
“You can only build peace on truth. And the truth is that Jerusalem has been, and always will be, the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state.”