Inside View Nov/Dec 2012
When U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited Israel in July, he called Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel and vowed to move the U.S. Embassy there if elected. It was the first time a president or presidential candidate recognized Jerusalem as the united Jewish capital and committed to moving the embassy there from Tel Aviv.
Romney, however, merely stated longstanding, official U.S. policy. When Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, it declared Jerusalem should remain undivided, be recognized as the official capital of the nation of Israel, and become the location of the U.S. Embassy in Israel by May 31, 1999.
Unfortunately, a waiver provision in the law permits the president to postpone the move for six months at a time in the interest of national security. Every president since the law was passed—Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama—has enacted the waiver, keeping it in effect perpetually.
Yet the Jewish roots of Jerusalem date back more than 3,000 years, to the days of King David. In the Bible, Jerusalem is always viewed as the Jewish people’s capital city. It is mentioned 600 times in the Old Testament and 160 times in the New. By contrast, it is not mentioned even once in the Qur’an.
For more than 18 centuries, from the city’s destruction in A.D. 135 by the Romans until 1967, Jerusalem ceased being recognized as Israel’s capital. For generation after generation, Jewish people the world over looked to the day when the beloved city would again be theirs. Their optimism was expressed in the phrase Next year in Jerusalem! spoken at the conclusion of Passover seders each year.
It was on June 6, during the 1967 Six-Day War, when the long-awaited day came: Israeli paratroopers took the Temple Mount, and Jerusalem was again united under Jewish rule.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of Jerusalem’s historic reunification. On June 6 Bill Sutter, recently retired executive director of The Friends of Israel, and I attended the Jerusalem Day Prayer Breakfast at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, DC. It was hosted by the International Israel Allies Caucus Foundation (IIACF), an organization dedicated to strengthening international support for Israel in governments and parliaments around the world.
What began in 2004 in Jerusalem, when a group of Israeli Knesset members formed a caucus with evangelical Christians to develop better ties with pro-Israel leaders, has grown into a global organization of caucuses in 17 member nations and the European Union. The IIACF coordinates activities and works to bring a unified voice on issues regarding Israel worldwide. The U.S. House formed the American Congressional Israel Allies Caucus in 2006.
The Prayer Breakfast’s goal was to remember the 45th anniversary of the reunification and promote the IIACF’s Recognize Jerusalem campaign, designed to encourage faith-based advocacy for a united Jerusalem.
IIACF is encouraging legislation similar to the Embassy Act in 20 countries. Meanwhile, in the United States, legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate to remove the presidential waiver power and initiate the process of moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Information on taking action can be found on the IIACF website, iiacf.org, along with other resources.
At the breakfast, it was encouraging to hear Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), John Fleming (R-LA), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Allen West (R-FL), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Joe Walsh (R-IL), and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) express support for Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and call on the president to relocate the embassy.
May God give our president the conviction of these congressional leaders. As Israel’s staunchest ally, the United States should show the world we stand with Israel. It was President Harry Truman who took the lead in 1947 to make America the first nation to recognize the modern State of Israel, and it should be America that leads the world again by becoming the first nation to relocate its embassy to the historical, biblical, and official undivided capital of Jerusalem.