US and Israeli flags beaming onto Jerusalem wall side-by-side.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Conservative movement’s US, Israel and global branches have welcomed US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, while calling for progress in advancing a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The statement comes in contrast to the declaration of the Reform movement, which said the decision was “ill-timed” and would “exacerbate the conflict.” The Conservative movement highlighted this difference in its statement to the Hebrew press.
The statement, published by its constituent institutions on Thursday, said it was “pleased by Trump’s declaration, and expressed the hope that the process of transferring the US embassy to Jerusalem begins in the near future.
“The status of Jerusalem is a matter to be settled in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. But in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and planning to move the American embassy to a location under uncontested Israeli sovereignty, the US government acknowledges the age-old connection that Israel and the Jewish people maintain with the holy city,” read the statement authored by the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Masorti Israel and Masorti Olami.
The movement expressed the hope that negotiations for a peace settlement to end the decades-long conflict would now also be advanced.
US President Donald Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announces embassy to relocate
“We urge the US, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the international community to take the bold steps needed to advance a two-state solution and a regional accord between Israel and its neighbors,” it said. “Now more than ever, Israelis and Palestinians deserve a just and durable peace that protects the security of Israelis and grants to Palestinians an independent state in which to realize their national aspirations.”
The Reform movement and Union for Reform Judaism president Rabbi Rick Jacobs issued its rejection of Trump’s steps almost immediately after the announcement, although it underlined the Reform movement’s position that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people and of Israel and that the embassy should eventually be moved to the holy city.
One prominent figure who seized on the Reform movement’s opposition was Shas leader and Interior Minister Arye Deri, who took to Twitter to denounce its stance.
“The next time that the President of the Reform congregations in the US, Rick Jacobs, preaches to us that he cares very much about the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and everyone thirstily laps up his words, remember that the coalition against the declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was led by Rick Jacobs and the Turkish President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan,” he tweeted.
Like the Reform movement, the rebbe of the anti-Zionist Satmar hassidic community in Kiryas Yoel, New York, Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, also spoke out against the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state during a special event on Saturday night.
The rabbi said he and his community did not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the “Zionist state,” regardless of Trump’s position.
“We declare in the name of Haredi Judaism: The holy city of Jerusalem will not be the capital [of the] Zionist state which uproots religion, even if the president of the United States declares it to be the capital,” the Kikar Shabbat website quoted Teitelbaum as saying.
“Exactly like in 1948, [when] Haredi Judaism did not recognize the declaration of US President [Harry] Truman that the Land of Israel is the state of the Jews... So too, today, 70 years after this in 2017, Haredi Judaism doesn’t recognize US President Trump on Jerusalem as the capital city,” he was quoted as saying.