With much news coverage, road closures, heightened security and fanfare, the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem on Monday.
No less important, albeit far less ostentatious, two more embassy transfers are due to follow shortly: Guatemala on Wednesday and Paraguay by the end of the month. Honduras has also promised to move its embassy to Jerusalem in the near future.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry held a ceremony on Sunday night to celebrate the U.S. embassy’s relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The ministry invited 86 foreign envoys but only 33 confirmed their participation. Notably absent were some of Israel’s staunchest allies including Canada, Australia and Germany.
Nevertheless, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that U.S. President Donald Trump was making history by moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“There are no greater supporters of Israel on the face of the earth,” he said. “We are eternally grateful.”
America was the first nation to recognize Israel 70 years ago when Israel declared its independence and is taking the lead now in moving its embassy on the 70th anniversary of its recognition.
“President Trump’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem affirms a great and simple truth: Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for the past three thousand years. It’s been the capital of our state for the past 70 years. It will remain our capital for all time.”
Austria was the only Western European nation whose ambassador, Martin Weiss, attended the Foreign Ministry event, affirming the Israeli people’s jubilation.
“This is a day of celebration for Israelis from across the political spectrum,” he said. “If you ask any Israeli on the street, whether he’s left-wing or right-wing, what the capital of Israel is, they’ll look at you weird. It’s obvious.”
Austria has a different position, he said, and the nation’s embassy would remain in Tel Aviv for the time being.
“But that doesn’t mean that when the Israeli prime minister invites me to an event I can’t go,” he continued. “We can have a policy disagreement but that doesn’t change the fact that today is a very joyous day for Israel and the Israeli people.”