Majority of Diaspora Jewish leaders favor embassy move to Jerusalem, study finds

75% believe Temple Mount must remain under Israeli jurisdiction

THE FRONT of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv. Will it move to Jerusalem? (photo credit: REUTERS)
THE FRONT of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv. Will it move to Jerusalem?
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A majority of Jewish leaders in the Diaspora favor moving all embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to a study by the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI).
The full report, titled “Jerusalem and the Jewish People: Unity and Controversy,” was released Tuesday, two weeks after the initial findings of the survey were published.
Asked whether “all countries ought to move their embassies to Jerusalem,” 62% of respondents said yes.
The study is based on discussions from dozens of focus groups with Jews around the world in which more than 500 participants took part, most of them in Jewish community leadership roles.
When it came to the nuances of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the issue of who should control Jerusalem and whether it should be divided, participants were more conflicted.
Close to 75% agreed with the statement that “The Temple Mount must remain under Israeli jurisdiction,” though 35% of that percentage only “somewhat agree.”
When asked if they were willing “to let an international force rule the ‘Holy Basin’ of Jerusalem” many “strongly disagreed.” Even among “secular” respondents – the most open to such arrangement – only 13% “strongly agreed” with this option, while 61% “strongly” or “somewhat” disagreed with it.
Among the Orthodox, 72% “strongly” disagreed with accepting an international force in Jerusalem, and only 14% “somewhat” or “strongly” agreed to it.
A JPPI analysis of the report deducted from these results that Jews appear to lack confidence in non-Israeli forces vis-a-vis the rights of Jews to access the Temple Mount area.
Fifty-six percent also agreed that “Jerusalem should never be divided,” with 34% signaling that they “strongly agree” and 22% “somewhat agree.”
One participant from St. Louis said: “I’m not opposed to some kind of capital for Palestinians, but not the Temple Mount. Not in the Old City. Maybe the eastern suburbs of Jerusalem.”
A participant from Chicago voiced a similar sentiment. “I want a peace agreement, but am wary of a situation that puts the Temple Mount in Palestinian hands.”
Meanwhile, from Rio de Janeiro, an opinion was expressed that “Jerusalem is not an issue to discuss with nobody [sic], and also not to negotiate with the Arabs. They don’t accept to divide Jerusalem with the Palestinians.”
Participants were also asked to agree or disagree with the statement: “In the framework of a permanent peace with the Palestinians, if satisfied with the rest of the agreement, Israel should be willing to compromise on the status of Jerusalem as a united city under Israeli jurisdiction.”
Contrasting with their previous responses, when put into the context of a peace agreement, nearly 60% of respondents said Israel should be willing to compromise on the status of Jerusalem.
The report was based on a study titled “2017 Dialogue,” which was held under the broader umbrella of the Dialogue Institute’s project on pluralism and democracy, supported by the William Davidson Foundation.
The process, which was a direct, unmediated study of attitudes that are highly relevant to the Jewish world, included 45 discussion groups in Jewish communities.
The dialogue took place from January through April in dozens of gatherings around the world.
This is the fourth study its kind.
The previous were: “The Jewish Dimension in an Era of Flexible Identity – The Attitudes of the Jews of the World, 2016,” “Jewish Values and the Use of Force by Israel in Armed Conflict: World Jewry’s Attitudes, 2015” and “Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State, 2014.”
This year, as in past years, the dialogue process was led by JPPI senior fellows Shmuel Rosner and John Ruskay, with statistical analysis by Noah Slepkov and coordination by Chaya Ekstein-Koppel.