Activists from the Betar Movement laid a “cornerstone” for the American Embassy in Jerusalem Sunday..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Right-wing activists from the Betar Movement laid a “cornerstone” for the American Embassy in Jerusalem Sunday in an effort to “strengthen” US President Donald Trump ahead of his visit to Israel’s capital.
The activists held the ceremony at the site of the former British Allenby Compound in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood on a plot of land leased to the US by the Israel Lands Authority for the embassy in 1999. The site was recently visited by State Department officials.
Trump promised throughout his campaign that he would move the embassy to Jerusalem, but he has reportedly backtracked since then. He is not expected to make a decision until he returns to Washington on whether or not to sign a presidential waiver to prevent the implementation of an American law requiring the embassy to be moved. He must make a decision by June 1, six months after former president Barack Obama signed the last waiver.
The activists came to the barren tract of land and hoisted American flags and a banner that said, “Cornerstone-Laying Ceremony for the US Embassy.”
“We decided to help him build the embassy, because we want to support President Trump, who is a friend of Israel,” World Betar chairman Neria Meir said. “This is a symbolic act that maybe will help push history. We want President Trump to keep his promise and make the right decision.”
Ministers, Knesset members and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman were invited to the event, but none of them came. Friedman promised at a pro- Trump rally in November that if State Department officials refused to move the embassy to Jerusalem, Trump would use a line borrowed from his reality show The Apprentice: “You’re fired!”