JERUSALEM (RNS) – Avihu Mizrachi Minagen generally steers clear of politics, but he applauded President Trump’s vow to move the U.S. Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv and his declaration that Jerusalem may be the capital of Israel.
“I believe it’s wonderful because it strengthens Jews’ historical, cultural and religious claims to Jerusalem at a time when Muslims want to deny then,” Minagen explained in the men’s shoe store his family members has function in the heart of West Jerusalem for the past 86 years – 17 years longer than Israel is a country.
Trump manufactured his announcement on Wednesday (Dec. 6), ignoring pressure from environment leaders who explained the move would additional incite an currently volatile region and generate it harder to restart peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
Among Israel’s large non-Jewish population – the 19 percent that is predominantly Muslim but also includes Christians and Druze – the response was decidedly harmful.
Minhagen’s response was common among Jews in Israel – to many of these the declaration recognizes what offers been true for a large number of years.
“The roots of the Jewish persons are right here,” Minagen said, gazing to the east. “The Western Wall structure, the Temple Mount. I’m glad the American president acknowledges this.”
That acknowledgment, which Trump delivered in a speech from the White House, has spurred a wave of speculation about its political and religious ramifications.
Trump called the planned relocation of the U.S. Embassy “a long overdue step to advance the peace method.” The relocation follows acceptance from both the Residence and the Senate.
And while the maneuver divides American Jews, who mostly threw their support to Hillary Clinton found in the 2016 election, it thrills white American evangelical Christians – the core of Trump’s bottom – who have long lobbied for the change.
The U.S has never ahead of recognized either Israeli or perhaps Palestinian sovereignty over all part of Jerusalem, which the United Nations envisioned as an international metropolis. After Arab armies attacked the fledgling Jewish point out in 1948, Israel seized control over West Jerusalem while Jordan seized control over East Jerusalem. In 1967, following the Middle East battle, Israel extended its control over East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians promise as the capital of another Palestinian state.
David Rosen, an Orthodox rabbi who is the international director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee, expressed doubt that Trump’s directive changes the religious position quo in Jerusalem. “Israel has already been in charge of Jerusalem and has done its best to keep up with the principle of independence of gain access to for all religions.”
But Muslim leaders and Islamist organizations warned of more discord and violence.
Palestinians through the entire West Bank and Gaza held demonstrations, burning Israeli and U.S. flags on Wednesday as part of the three “Times of Rage” organized by Palestinian factions.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to cut already strained diplomatic ties with Israel. Reputation of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is definitely “a red collection” for Muslims around the world, Erdogan said.
Hamas, the Islamist group that guidelines the Gaza Strip and which the U.S. has categorized a terrorist company, said the declaration would be “a blatant aggression against the holy metropolis.”
The head of a Muslim seminary in Egypt promised that “the gates of hell will open on the west if it moves its embassy to Jerusalem,” according to Zamnpress.
Meanwhile, Jews around the world debated if the U.S. declaration of sovereignty and the embassy’s relocation was a good thing or a bad element.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin called Trump’s speech “a landmark in the acknowledgement of the proper of the Jewish persons to our territory, and a milestone in our street to peace – peace for all the citizens of Jerusalem, and the complete region.”
In contrast, the U.S.-based Reform movement, the greatest stream of Judaism in the U.S., called Trump’s announcement “ill timed.”
“It affirms what the Reform Jewish Movement has prolonged held: that Jerusalem may be the eternal capital of the Jewish persons and the Point out of Israel. Yet … we can not support his decision to get started preparing the move now, absent a comprehensive arrange for a peace process.”
Any relocation of the American Embassy “should be conceived and executed in the broader context reflecting Jerusalem’s status as a city holy to Jewish, Christians and Muslims alike,” its statement continued.
For the Holy Land’s Christians, in a good letter to Trump, patriarchs and bishops expressed their hope that the U.S. “will continue recognizing today’s international position of Jerusalem. Any sudden changes would reason irreparable harm.”
The Christian leaders predicted that Trump’s actions will bring about “raised hatred, conflict, violence and battling in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the purpose of unity and deeper toward destructive division.”
Thabet Abu Rass, the Muslim co-director of the Abraham Fund Initiatives, which strives for Arab and Jewish equality, called the announcement “a historic blunder.”
“Jerusalem isn’t only a religious city. This is a symbol of statehood for Palestinians. This move is only going to inflame Arab-Jewish relations,” he predicted.
Despite the historic announcement, the streets of Jerusalem were almost empty Wednesday night as a cold rainfall and strong winds kept most people indoors.
Boaz Marcus, a good Jewish metropolis resident and advertising executive, said he was first unmoved by Trump’s announcement. “It doesn’t make a difference for me,” said Marcus, who is secular, “but I suppose religious people have more decisive feelings.”
Marcus said that the town “is already generally divided” between Jewish West Jerusalem and Arab East Jerusalem and that the president’s phrases won’t make a difference.
“In the end it’s what people conduct, not what they state.”
Ahmed Muami, a Muslim carpenter from East Jerusalem, expressed fears that the Israeli government will attempt to wrest control of Haram al-Sharif – what Jews call the Temple Mount – from the Jordanian Muslim trust that administers this.
“Given that America says that Jerusalem may be the capital of Israel, who’ll try to give up Israel from doing this?” he asked.
This past year a wave of Palestinian violence spread across Israel, and especially in Jerusalem, amid rumors that Israel was acquiring steps to destroy the mosque.
Yossi Hadad, who owns a jewelry store in the town middle, said Trump only confirmed what he and other Jews have been saying all along.
“The Torah, Jewish texts and archaeological excavations all come to the same conclusion: that Jerusalem is a Jewish city. All we get is definitely that acknowledgment, with the understanding that Muslims and Christians belong in this article, too.”