On Monday, the Orthodox Union brought together more than 300 Israeli CEOs, US and Israeli politicians, and Jewish leaders at Jerusalem’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel to celebrate the US embassy’s historic move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The program was held mere hours before the official ceremony; it acknowledged the culmination of decades of advocacy work by the OU and showed gratitude to President Trump and his administration for publicly recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The program included addresses by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Florida Governor Rick Scott, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Israel Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Israeli Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ze’ev Elkin, Member of Knesset and Opposition Leader Yitzhak Herzog, and former Israel Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau. The OU recognized US Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt who played a crucial role in advocating for the embassy move.
The Orthodox Union has advocated for relocating the US embassy to Jerusalem since 1972. The program acknowledged the contributions of politicians from both sides of the aisle in promoting this cause. Former vice president Hubert Humphrey at a 1972 dinner for NCSY (the OU’s youth program) became the first presidential candidate to propose that the US recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In February 2017, OU leadership met with senior Trump administration officials to advocate for the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital of Israel, nearly a year before President Trump’s historic December 6, 2017, announcement of plans to move the embassy to Jerusalem.
“We express gratitude to President Trump and the leaders of his administration for being catalysts in fulfilling, at long last, the promise to move the embassy to its rightful location, for recognizing that the time had come, and the time was now,” said OU Executive Vice President Allen Fagin. He also welcomed Guatemalan Foreign Minister Sandra Erica Jovel Polanco, saluting the Central American nation for being the next embassy to move to Jerusalem.
Said OU President Moishe Bane, “The United States of America, Israel’s dearest friend, and the world’s beacon of liberty and justice, has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s heritage and capital city, not only in word but in action. And for that, we as Americans, and Jews throughout the world, express our deepest appreciation and gratitude.”
The OU also held a celebration in New York at the residence of Consul General of Israel to the United States Dani Dayan. Nathan Diament, Executive Director of the OU Advocacy Center, joined Dayan to address the group about this historic day and the milestone in the relationship between Israel and America.
The OU is unique among American Jewish organizations because of its extensive operations in Israel. The OU Israel Center in Jerusalem is a hub of Torah study, Jewish culture and spiritual growth for over 60,000 English speakers.
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See photos from the Jerusalem event
See photos from the New York event