An alliance of some 60 influential American Christian leaders have signed a letter delivered on Tuesday (16 May) to U.S. President Donald Trump calling on his administration to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to relocate the U.S. Embassy there. Presented to the president less than a week before his visit to Israel, the letter declares, "the time has come, at long last, to uphold American law by moving the U.S. Embassy to Israel's eternal indivisible capital city of Jerusalem."
Referencing the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, the letter notes that Congress has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and called for the U.S. Embassy to be moved there by May 31, 1999. However, due to presidential waivers issued every six months delaying the implementation of that law, Israel remains the only country where the U.S. government does not have its embassy in the functioning capital of the country. This "doublespeak" must end, the signatories to the letter insist. Thus, they urged President Trump to send the message early in his administration that the United States would stand with its closest and only true democratic ally in the Middle East by showing due respect for Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
The letter is the latest initiative of American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI), an informal network of key Christian leaders representing some 60 million American Christians which is coordinated by the USA Branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. The ACLI letter is signed by an array of evangelical leaders representing diverse groups and denominations; among them are Dr. Jerry Johnson, president of the National Religious Broadcasters; Dr. John Hagee, founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel; Gordon Robertson, CEO of Christian Broadcasting Network; Dr. Charles Stanley, president of In Touch Ministries; Star Parker, president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education; Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America; Dr. James Dobson, president of Family Talk Radio; and Janet Parshall, nationally syndicated talk show host.
Susan Michael, ICEJ-USA National Director, expressed concern that President Trump was being wrongly counseled to delay implementation of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act for another six months and to tie the moving of the Embassy to the conclusion of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
"Looking back over the past 24 years of unsuccessful efforts by three previous presidents to broker a final peace agreement, it is not a good idea to continue hinging this long-overdue decision on reaching such a deal. Now is the right time to honor our friend and ally by fully recognizing Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of Israel," said Susan Michael.
Dr. Jürgen Bühler, president of the ICEJ, added: "The Evangelical Christians of America were the ones who voted President Trump into office, based in large part on his assurances that he would be the one to finally honor Jerusalem as Israel's capital. There is no better time than now for him to begin leading the nations back up to this special city. Jerusalem is already widely recognized as the de facto capital of Israel, so it is only right and proper to give the city the official status it deserves."
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