Christians emerge as key patrons for Jews moving to Israel

By Tia Goldenberg Published 12:37 pm, Thursday, March 8, 2018 Photo: Ariel Schalit, Associated Press Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine arrive in Tel Aviv funded by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine arrive in Tel Aviv funded by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Photo: Ariel Schalit, Associated Press Christians emerge as key patrons for Jews moving to Israel 1 / 1 Back to Gallery TEL AVIV— Israel’s founding fathers, who etched a commitment to encouraging Jewish immigration into the declaration of independence, might be surprised to find that, seven decades later, the state is relying on Christians to fulfill that promise. What was once a strictly Jewish-funded mission is increasingly being bankrolled by evangelical Christians. Israel’s Christian allies now fund about a third of all immigrants moving to the country, according to a tally by The Associated Press. The figures reflect the ever-tightening relationship between Israel and its evangelical Christian allies, whom Israel has come to count on for everything from political support to tourism dollars. “After 2,000 years of oppression and persecution, today you have Christians who are helping Jews,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a group that raises money from evangelical Christians for Jewish causes. Recommended Video: Now Playing: US Embassy in Israel to Move to Jerusalem in May The announcement was made on Friday by the State Department, who are planning on making it coincide with Israel's 70th anniversary. By the end of next year, we intend to open a new Embassy Jerusalem annex on the Arnona compound that will provide the Continue Reading

Trump ‘may’ travel to Jerusalem for US embassy opening

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump may travel to Israel for the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, which is slated to take place in May. "I may. I may," Trump said on Monday as he welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Oval Office. "They have started, as you know, construction and I may." "We're looking at coming," Trump added. "If I can, I will." The Trump administration has repeatedly shifted its timeline for moving the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, which Trump announced in December as he recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Netanyahu's White House visit shrouded in scandal The administration first said it would take years to move the US embassy and said it had rejected the idea of opening a temporary US embassy in Jerusalem. But now, it appears the administration is intent on doing just that, announcing plans last month to designate a US consular facility in Jerusalem as the US embassy while waiting for the years-long process of building a new embassy there. Read More But Trump glossed over the distinction Monday, saying the US would only spend $250,000 to build the new embassy versus a $1 billion proposal he said he was recently presented. After opening the embassy in May, the US will build out additional office space at the consular facility by the end of 2019. But that space, too, will be temporary as the US works to identify a site and build a permanent embassy in Jerusalem. Trump touted his decision on recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, noting that previous presidents have promised to do so but never acted. Trump said "it's something that's very much appreciated in Israel." The decision, though, has stalled the US-led peace process, causing uproar in the Arab world and leading Palestinian leaders to reject a US role in mediating a resolution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But Trump projected optimism about the direction of the peace process, saying he believes "we have a very Continue Reading

Under fire for travel expenses, EPA’s Pruitt cancels trip to Israel

Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page Washington Post  February 19, 2018 WASHINGTON — Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has canceled a nearly week-long trip to Israel, agency officials confirmed Sunday.Pruitt, who had been scheduled to leave this weekend for an extensive tour of the Mideast ally, has come under fire over the past week for the cost of his domestic and international travel. In May, the head of Pruitt’s security detail recommended that he travel either business or first class whenever possible to avoid public confrontations with critics. Advertisement ‘‘We decided to postpone; the administrator looks forward to going in the future,’’ EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said in an e-mail Sunday. She did not provide a reason for the postponement. Get Ground Game in your inbox: Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell. Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here Pruitt was to arrive in Israel on Sunday and would have stayed at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem from the time of his arrival until Thursday, according to people in Israel briefed on his plans. Support staff from the U.S. Embassy, which is located in Tel Aviv, were supposed to accompany him on his trip, standard protocol for any visiting Cabinet members.Israeli officials confirmed that Pruitt’s trip was official state business but could not say if the usual visits had been scheduled. He had been slated to meet with Israel’s environment minister, Ze’ev Elkin, but the office of the Israeli minister, a senior member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, confirmed that the meeting had been canceled. Advertisement Neither the US embassy in Israel nor the Israeli Foreign Ministry would comment on Pruitt’s change in plans.A week ago, an EPA official said the Continue Reading

Pence: US Embassy to move to Jerusalem in 2019

By Ken Thomas and Aron Heller Published 3:18 pm, Monday, January 22, 2018 Photo: ARIEL SCHALIT, NYT Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) greets U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) greets U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Jerusalem. Photo: ARIEL SCHALIT, NYT Pence: US Embassy to move to Jerusalem in 2019 1 / 1 Back to Gallery JERUSALEM — U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told Israeli lawmakers Monday that the U.S. would put plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem on a fast track, drawing angry denunciations from Arabs who were forcibly removed from the hall during his speech before Israel’s parliament. The Trump administration’s plan to accelerate the move of the embassy, announced in the first address of a sitting American vice president to the Knesset, marked the highlight of Pence’s visit celebrating President Trump’s decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. LATEST SFGATE VIDEOS Now Playing: Now Playing 161 Gilbert St., San Francisco Blue Sky Films Newsreel: "Danger Women at Work" Getty Images The joy of powder at Squaw Valley on Jan. 21, 2018 @AEngerbretson / Twitter / Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows) Santa Cruz County Sheriff looking for suspect in Toys 'R Us theft Santa Cruz County Sheriff 2018 Women's March in San Francisco Martin do Nascimento San Jose Women's March 2018 Josh Koehn The Regulars: Godmother of Ganja Liz Hafalia, Manjula Varghese, San Francisco Chronicle Oscar watch: Memorable movies of 2017 Ted Andersen, SFGATE California's 7 National Parks Martin do Nascimento Storm surge and high tide floods road and cars in Ocean Park, Wash. Joshua Wilkins “Jerusalem is Continue Reading

Pence says US Embassy to make Jerusalem move next year

Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page By Jenna Johnson Washington Post  January 22, 2018 JERUSALEM — The United States will open its embassy in Jerusalem next year, Vice President Mike Pence said Monday, accelerating plans that have sparked fury from Palestinians and widespread condemnation in the region.Speaking in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, Pence looked more at ease than during earlier meetings in Egypt and Jordan, where he has been forced to defend the controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He voiced his wholehearted support for Israel.‘‘Jerusalem is Israel’s capital — and, as such, President Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,’’ Pence said to applause. Advertisement ‘‘In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the US Embassy in Jerusalem —and that United States embassy will open before the end of next year,’’ he said. Get Today's Headlines in your inbox: The day's top stories delivered every morning. Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here When President Trump announced the decision in December, US officials indicated that it may take three or four years to move the embassy. That decision was made in the best interests of peace, Pence said.But it was difficult Monday to see how it could spur progress between the two sides.Israeli Arab lawmakers staged a walkout at the beginning of Pence’s speech, resulting in a small scuffle. One held up a sign reading ‘‘Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine’’ in Arabic and English, before being pushed out of the chamber by security.Palestinian officials also snubbed his visit. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday was instead Continue Reading

Why Trump’s promise to move US Embassy to Jerusalem is so controversial

President Trump announced late last year that the U.S. will formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – and it looks like the new U.S. embassy will be ready ahead of schedule. The U.S. embassy in Jerusalem will open in May in order to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel declaring its independence, the Trump administration said on Feb. 23. The Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital was heralded by many pro-Israel activists but decried by Palestinians and America’s Arab allies. Read on to find out why the decision is so contentious — and why it wasn’t accomplished before. Finding the capital The international community – and until 2017, the U.S. – largely does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as it is claimed by both Palestinians and Israelis. Like other countries, the U.S. kept its embassy in Tel Aviv, approximately an hour away. The U.S. moving its embassy would cause “significant harm to the U.S. credibility as a mediator” for peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, said Dylan Williams, vice president of government affairs for J Street, a left-leaning pro-Israel advocacy organization. Williams added that the move could “undermine confidence” from Palestinians and Arab countries that the U.S. would remain an impartial negotiator in efforts to create peace in the Middle East.  “It shouldn’t be moved prior to agreement by the parties to the conflict as part of a comprehensive agreement ending their conflict,” Williams, J Street’s chief lobbyist, told Fox News.  Williams added that such a move could also turn deadly. “Even seemingly minor changes of Jerusalem’s status quo — either in fact or in law — have historically had the impact of sparking violence,” Williams said. Support for Jerusalem Millions of evangelical eyes were on Trump, waiting to see if he would Continue Reading

Pence tells Israel US Embassy to move to Jerusalem in 2019

JERUSALEM -- Vice President Mike Pence on Monday told Israel's parliament that the U.S. Embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of 2019, ahead of schedule, receiving a rousing ovation as he pledged to barrel ahead with a plan that has set off weeks of unrest and thrown U.S. peace efforts into disarray. The move, in the first address of a sitting American vice president to the Israeli Knesset, marked the highlight of Pence's three-day visit to Israel celebrating President Donald Trump's decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. "The United States has chosen fact over fiction -- and fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace," Pence said. "Jerusalem is Israel's capital and as such President Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," he said adding the embassy "will open before the end of next year." The speech drew an angry denunciation from the Palestinians, with chief negotiator Saeb Erekat saying it "has proven that the U.S. administration is part of the problem rather than the solution." Pence was preceded on the dais by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who lavished his American guest with praise and gratitude. It was all part of an exceptionally warm welcome for Pence in Israel, which has been overjoyed by Trump's pivot on Jerusalem. But the move has infuriated the Palestinians, with whom Pence is not meeting, and upset America's Arab allies as well. A group of Arab lawmakers voiced their displeasure at the administration's perceived pro-Israel bias by raising banners reading "Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine" and heckling Pence at the beginning of his address, before being forcibly removed from the plenum. The main Arab party in the Israeli parliament warned ahead of time it would boycott Pence. Its leader, Ayman Odeh, vowed they would not provide a "silent backdrop" to a man he called a "dangerous Continue Reading

Netanyahu says US Embassy to move to Jerusalem this year

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he's certain that the U.S. Embassy will be moved to Jerusalem in the coming year, much sooner than Trump administration officials have estimated. Netanyahu told Israeli reporters traveling with him in India on Wednesday his "solid assessment" is that the American Embassy "will be moved far faster than what we think ... in the course of the year." President Donald Trump upended decades of American foreign policy, infuriating many when he announced late last year the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would move its embassy there. American officials have said it's unlikely any Jerusalem embassy will open before the end of Trump's first term. The decision has prompted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to declare Trump unfit to broker negotiations. Continue Reading

ELFAR: Moving U.S. embassy to Jerusalem major misstep

In President Trump’s statement about relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, he has effectively recognized the city as Israel’s capital. This is a step that successive U.S. administrations (from both parties), along with nearly every country in the world, have avoided since Israel’s creation in 1948. Some of us may wonder what all of the uproar is about? After all, isn’t this just a geographic relocation?The reality is that Jerusalem persists as one of the most fiery and complicated issues pervading the conflicts in the Middle East. The city is a powerful religious and political symbol for billions of people around the globe, and is uniquely sacred to all three Abrahamic faiths — Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Given its special status, the longstanding international consensus has been that no one group should hold exclusive title over it; rather, it is widely considered as a corpus separatum whose future and precise political status must be determined through negotiations between Israel and the Arabs, particularly the Palestinians. No international embassies to Israel are currently located in the city, but are based in Tel Aviv instead.For the U.S., keeping our embassy in the undisputed city of Tel Aviv has ensured that we weren’t seen as taking a side on Jerusalem’s final status. While Congress passed a law in 1995 requiring the U.S. Embassy to be relocated to Jerusalem, every president since has signed a national security waiver every six months to delay the move.By making his controversial announcement, Trump has not only abandoned the international consensus in which the U.S. has played a leading role for decades, but his action undercuts any realistic hope of the U.S. serving as a neutral, honest and effective broker between Israel and the Palestinians. Trump’s move sends a strong global message that Washington is no longer interested in securing a viable, fair and peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Continue Reading

U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia gets flak for posting misleading video about Trump’s upcoming visit to Israel

The State Department on Monday replaced a video posted by a U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia after a New York congressman complained it omitted Israel as one of the stops on President Trump’s upcoming trip to the region. In a letter sent to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, New York Rep. Eliot Engel raised alarms that the video posted by the embassy in Riyadh used video of Trump announcing the trip — but edited out his mention of Israel as a destination in between stops in Saudi Arabia and the Vatican. “I am appalled that the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia disingenuously posted this incomplete and misleading video,” Engel, a Bronx Democrat, wrote in the letter. “At a time when the United States should be encouraging the governments of the region—and their people—to promote tolerance, respect, and mutual recognition this video implies that the U.S. accepts Saudi Arabia's public rejectionist position toward Israel,” Engel added. A State Department official told the Daily News that the video was posted in error and has since been replaced by the complete video of Trump announcing the trip, including the stop in Israel. “The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh shared a version of the video announcement from a private Saudi citizen's social media account,” the official said. “Unknowingly, the shared version had been edited to remove the word "Israel." The official added that “the embassy expresses its regret for this inadvertent mistake." The embassy had shared the initial video on its Arabic-language Twitter handle, @USAinKSA. Continue Reading