US EMBASSY OPENING
MAY 14, 2018
BY ARLENE BRIDGES SAMUELS, ICEJ USA LEADERSHIP OUTREACH DIRECTOR
Christian Zionists worldwide celebrated two momentous occasions beginning December 6, 2017 with President Trump’s announcement to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel’s ancient and now modern capital. Then on May 14, 2018, one hundred and fifty-nine days later, US dignitaries unveiled the inaugural dedication plaque engraved with the United States of America’s seal. The emblazoned names of President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Michael R. Pence, and Ambassador to the State of Israel David M. Friedman took their place in history at the US Embassy now located in Jerusalem in the quiet neighborhood of Arnona.
With a nod to the 250-strong US Delegation, PM Netanyahu opened his speech saying, “We have no better friends in the world.” In his remarks he went on to say, “President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history.” He later referenced the prophet, Zechariah, who declared over 2,500 years ago,“So said the Lord, ‘I will return to Zion and I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth.’”
In the lead-up to May 14, Israel’s 70th Independence Day, workers plastered Jerusalem with new street signs pointing the way to the US Embassy. American and Israeli flags adorned buildings, homes, and poles along with banners and posters saying, “God Bless President Trump.” On the road winding its way up a low hill toward the US Embassy red, white, and blue flowers shaped into a large American flag greeted 800 guests, which included politicians, billionaires, military personnel, Jewish and Christian leaders. A 250-person American delegation was led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who along with Ivanka Trump, unveiled the seal and the dedication plaque.
Emceed by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, the US Embassy dedication program featured a mix of US and Israeli leaders including Israel’s president and the prime minister, a video greeting from President Trump, Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, and US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. Rabbis and pastors offered prayers and US Marines proudly presented the Colors.
Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) held the United States’ premier event Israel: Seventy and Strong beginning with a 400-person multi-generational gala at the Museum of the Bible. A national leader quipped, “If you can’t be in Jerusalem, this is the place to be.” Forty leaders in the ACLI network made the Summit, organized by ACLI and ICEJ, possible. A two-day summit followed the gala with national and regional leaders celebrating their important role in 2016 and 2017 in President Trump’s decision to enact the Jerusalem Embassy Act and thereby move the US Embassy. During the summit, an expert educational agenda promoted collaboration for future advocacy for Israel.
As the United States Embassy dedication ended, Hagit Yaso, an Ethiopian Israeli singer delivered a moving song “Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu/Peace Will Come to Us.” And like millions of Jewish people from across the globe immigrating in many ways via ships, planes, trains, and yes, on foot, Hagit’s parents made Aliyah to Israel by walking across the Sudan to reach their ancestral homeland. With the 70-year imprimatur of Presidents Truman and Trump, the United States Embassy is now rightfully located in Israel’s 3,000-year-old capitol where the Israeli hope for peace with their neighbors remains and grows stronger.