With a December 1 deadline looming, a group of U.S. Christian leaders sent a letter this week to President Trump urging him to fulfill his campaign promise to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, and to not delay the move again.
The Jerusalem Embassy Act, which was enacted in October 1995, declared clearly that Jerusalem is the political capital of Israel. Finding that the U.S. “maintains its embassy in the functioning capital of every country except in the case of our democratic friend and strategic ally, the State of Israel,” this law required that the embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by May 31, 1999. However, the statute includes an option for its mandate to be waived by the President for six months, if “necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States.” That option has been exercised by the White House every six months for two decades – most recently on June 1. The next deadline for the waiver is December 1.
In this week’s communication, Christian leaders including NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson reminded the White House of a previous letter signed in May by 60 major Christian leaders, representing 60 million evangelicals, which asked the President not to sign the waiver and to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
The letters were organized by American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI), an informal network of Christian leaders managed by the U.S. Branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ). They agreed with the recent urging from several Members of Congress that the time to move the U.S. Embassy is now during Jerusalem’s 50th anniversary year as a reunified city.
“We understand that you signed the waiver on June 1 in order to allow time for a possible peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” this week’s letter stated. “While we were disappointed, we applaud your noble desire for peace.
“However,” it continued, “we are gravely concerned that with every passing day it will become more difficult to move the Embassy and if you do not do it now that it may never happen.”
In closing, the U.S. Christian leaders urged the President to “recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and never-to-be-divided-again capital of Israel and to move the U.S. Embassy there.”
“Mr. President, please do not sign the waiver again; allow the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act to be implemented,” the letter concluded. “It is with greatest respect and appreciation that we make our request known.”
On a related note, at Proclaim 17, the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Orlando, the association’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution expressing support for Israel. The Board called on NRB members to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” and for the U.S. “to stand steadfastly by Israel, even as others malign, abandon, or attack her.” They also urged Christians to “reject and guard against the dangerous Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement.”
Next year, in anticipation of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the modern state of Israel, NRB will host a special session at Proclaim 18 in Nashville, Tennessee, that will feature Christian ministry leaders Kay Arthur and David Jeremiah; award-winning singer and songwriter Michael W. Smith; and others. Proclaim 18 will be held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville February 27-March 2, 2018.
By NRB Staff
Published: November 30, 2017