Foreign Minister Israel Katz has made the transfer of more embassies to Jerusalem as a “first national, political and strategic goal” for the country, according to a report released Sunday by the Hebrew daily Israel Hayom.
“Strengthening Jerusalem’s status in the world is the most important goal I have set for myself as foreign minister,” Katz told the newspaper. “Jerusalem will always be the beating heart of the Jewish people.”
Katz has earmarked in a proposal NIS 50 million to support the plan, which he plans to submit to the government soon. The money, according to Israel Hayom, will be used to support the embassies' moving costs, including finding suitable land in Jerusalem, assistance in proceedings with the Jerusalem Municipality, and other authorities and relevant bodies, among other things.
A steering committee to help administer the funds will be overseen by Yuval Rotem, director-general of the Foreign Ministry.
So far, only the U.S. and Guatemala have formally moved their embassies to the holy city.
Where are some other countries holding? Israel Hayom offered an overview:
Paraguay inaugurated its embassy in Jerusalem last May under the leadership of its previous president, Horacio Cortez. However, when the country’s new president Mario Abdo Benítez took office, he reversed the decision.
Hungary opened a trade ministry in Jerusalem as an extension of its embassy, which remains in Tel Aviv. Although this is a formal diplomatic presence in the capital, the Central European country has made it clear that it does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Honduras and Romania have both stated they are interested in moving their embassies to Jerusalem. However, while Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă would likely make the move, President Klaus Iohannis has stated that he opposes such a transfer.
Honduras requested that if it would open an embassy in Jerusalem, then Israel should open a full embassy in Honduras, which the Jewish state has not yet done.
Finally, Slovakia announced last March that it would open a trade ministry in Jerusalem as well.
The report cited two reasons why more embassies have not made the move. The first is that members of the European Union were threatened against doing so. The second concerns the US: Most of the countries considering such a move are seeing greater American support, mainly in the economic sphere, and the administration for its own reasons has been reluctant to comply with those requests.