At a special celebration on Sunday at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the U.S. delegation to the transfer of its embassy to Jerusalem. As part of the proceedings, Netanyahu presented a letter of appreciation to US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman recognizing his role in the embassy move. In attendance at the reception were some 800 invitees, including 40 ambassadors. Although most of the European diplomats have reportedly decided not to attend, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania were set to be represented at the event.
The highest praise of the evening, however, was reserved for President Trump, who announced last December that the US would officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy there accordingly. In the wake of Trump’s announcement, Guatemala and Paraguay signaled their intentions to move their embassies to Jerusalem as well.
Speaking to the gathering of diplomats, dignitaries, and politicians on Sunday, Netanyahu declared, “President Trump is making history. We are deeply grateful and our people will be eternally grateful for his bold decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the embassy there tomorrow.”
Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner, who both act as close advisors to the president, are part of a 250-member group that has come to attend the official dedication ceremony for the American embassy.
In anticipation of her second visit in a year, Trump noted on her Instagram page Saturday how happy she was to be coming to celebrate Israel’s birthday in such a way.
“With great joy, I am returning to Jerusalem. I am honored to join the distinguished delegation representing President Trump, his Administration, and the American people at this momentous ceremony commemorating the opening of our new US Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel. We look forward to celebrating Israel’s 70th anniversary and the bright future ahead,” she wrote, adding that they would also pray for peace as well as “the boundless potential of the future of the U.S.-Israel alliance.”
Netanyahu continued, “You are coming at a time when Israel is a rising power in the world, you know, in cyber, in IT, in water, in judo, in singing,” with the latter reference a nod to Israeli Eurovision song contest winner Netta Barzilai, who clinched the international competition on Saturday evening.
“Thank you President Trump for your bold decision, thank you for making the alliance between Israel and the United States stronger than ever,” Netanyahu exclaimed, adding, “It took President Trump to enunciate this simple, basic truth. And once enunciated, that truth will propagate. So I expect — you can call me, all the ambassadors who are here and afterwards, you can whisper in my ear, we’ll fix it. But it will happen.”
Netanyahu did not let the opportunity to confront the Iranian threat elude him, explaining, “With all due respect to those sitting in European capitals, we here in the capitals of the Middle East—in Jerusalem, in Riyadh and elsewhere — we’ve seen the disastrous consequences of the Iran deal. And so when President Trump decides to pull out of this deal, to walk away from it, we know that when he walks away from a bad deal, he’s doing a good thing for our region, for the United States and for the world.”
In a nod of approval to the recent decision of both Guatemala and Paraguay to move their embassies to Jerusalem as well, Netanyahu said, “Now, you know how you recognize real leadership? It’s when others follow, and others are following in President Trump’s footsteps. I thank Guatemala’s Foreign Minister, who is here, Sandra Jovel, who has joined us today. We will open your embassy two days from tomorrow. Thank you. I thank the President of Paraguay and the incoming President of Paraguay, because they’ll open their embassy a few days after that. And other nations are in the process of doing exactly that.”
Netanyahu added, “That’s a state secret, and we don’t reveal our state secrets. Sometimes we reveal other’s state secrets. We’ll let you know as time comes. I call on all countries to join the US in moving their embassies to Jerusalem. Move your embassies to Jerusalem because it’s the right thing to do. And move your embassies to Jerusalem—listen to this: Move your embassies to Jerusalem because it advances peace, and that’s because you can’t base peace on a foundation of lies.”