It’s time for the rest of Israel’s friends to recognize Jerusalem as its capital, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said Wednesday after United States President Donald Trump did so.
“Jerusalem was and will remain our eternal capital, but now there’s also recognition,” Edelstein stated. “I certainly welcome US President Donald Trump’s admission, and call on all the countries that see themselves as Israel’s friends to follow in his footsteps.”
As for the threats of Palestinian leaders, Edelstein added: “Citizens of Israel, we must believe in the righteousness of our path and not be alarmed by threats.”
“If I forget you, Jerusalem, my right hand shall be forgotten,” Interior Minister and Shas chairman Arye Deri tweeted, quoting Psalms. “God bless America and its president.”
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon pointed out that “for 3,000 years our forefathers dreamed of Jerusalem, prayed for Jerusalem and faced Jerusalem – from Iraq, Libya, Russia, Poland – the entire Diaspora prayed toward Jerusalem.”
“Sometimes, even the obvious has to be said,” Kahlon added. “Tonight, Trump’s declaration said the obvious for us. This recognition is important. It’s obvious that a united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. I hope that the rest of the countries of the world will join President Trump and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. That is the right and real thing that we all believe in as Jews and citizens of Israel.”
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said Israel doesn’t need anyone to authorize what is written in the Torah, but the diplomatic meaning of Trump’s declaration “fixes a historic injustice and puts the truth in front of the nations of the whole world.”
“Jerusalem, our eternal capital, is the beating heart of Israel, the place to which we prayed for years,” Levin added.
Positive reactions came from the Left, Right and Center in the Knesset.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid tweeted: “Thank you President Trump. Jerusalem always was and will remain our capital. We look forward to welcoming the US Embassy to Jerusalem.”
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said: “President Trump has made an act of historic justice, due for 70 years, by recognizing what every Israeli knows – that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. For this he is due our grateful thanks.
“Now he should move with the same determination to realize the vision of two states, addressing all the core issues, for the sake of the security and peace of both peoples,” Herzog continued.
Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai said, “Trump took the first, significant step toward an Israel-Palestinian agreement. He deserves appreciation and thanks. Recognizing Jerusalem is a starting point that must have a continuation. I expect the government of Israel to take the next step and give up on preconditions, adopt the status quo in the territories and immediately begin negotiations on a final agreement between us and the Palestinians.”
MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin, also of the Zionist Union, said it’s “an important day for Israel and the Jewish people. Renewing negotiations must be the direct continuation of the brave declaration.”
On the Right, MK Bezalel Smotrich of Bayit Yehudi praised Trump for saying that past presidents repeated the same formula but still expected peace, which did not come.
“For 30 years we have fallen into the pit of the Palestinian state as a realistic solution. The time has come to rethink things. The time has come to decide. The time has come for sovereignty. Thank you, President Trump for the warm words,” Smotrich said.
Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer said Trump “did no more or no less than recognize reality. How simple. How just. I believe and hope that more countries will follow the US, and that more leaders will follow the path of President Trump and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move their embassies to Jerusalem.”
Scandal-prone Likud MK Oren Hazan, who is known, among other things, for taking a selfie with Trump during his visit to Israel, tweeted: “Thank you, President Trump. Jerusalem is waiting for selfie!”
Some, in both the coalition and the opposition, were unenthusiastic about Trump’s declaration.
Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) said “Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will cost us dearly, and he will hurt us with his diplomatic plan. Better that we build in parts of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem that need housing, than a declaration that means nothing.”
Similarly, MK Yisrael Eichler, also of UTJ, said that he would “rather have 1,000 homes for young couples in Jerusalem than one American embassy building. I hope that the declaration will not cost us in the blood of terrorist attacks, God forbid, and that it will not strengthen our enemies.”
Joint List leader MK Ayman Odeh said that “Trump hates people” and therefore does not care about the fate of Israelis or Palestinians.
“His speech was a combination of ignorance and arrogance, and its ramifications don’t interest him,” Odeh stated. “Trump threw a match at the Middle East, and the two peoples will pay the price. Trump’s America said officially that it is part of the occupying force and therefore cannot in any way be a sponsor for talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
“The Palestinian people, together with the forces of peace in Israel, will continue their courageous struggle until the end of occupation and the achievement of real peace,” Odeh added.
MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List) called Trump’s declaration “colonialist, violating international law and a spit in the face of the international community.”
“The Palestinians never had expectations from the US, and today Trump put his country at the head of the front against the world’s peace efforts,” he added.
Meretz saw Trump as emboldening the far Right and abandoning the peace process.
According to Meretz MK Michal Rozin, “Trump finished the historic role and status of the US as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians. True and sustainable recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel should come together with a decision to establish a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem. The current declaration harms the chance of a future agreement and de facto betrays the Zionist vision and the values on which the State of Israel was established.”