OU Denounces European Ministers’ Statement on Jerusalem

08 Dec 2009


The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, denounced the statement, adopted today by ministers of the nations of the European Union, calling for negotiations over the status of Jerusalem and demanding the holy city serve as the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian State.

Orthodox Union president, Stephen J. Savitsky, and executive vice president, Rabbi Steven Weil, issued the following statement:

On behalf of the Orthodox Union, and the millions of Jews who faithfully pray toward Jerusalem and for her peace, we denounce the audacious statement of the EU ministers.

Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people for 3000 years, and despite being conquered and claimed by many others, it has never served as another nation’s capital.

Part of the city became modern Israel’s capital in 1948, and the entire city was reunited as our capital in 1967. The EU ministers must confront the fact that when the Old City was last ruled by Arabs, Jews and Christians were denied access to their holiest sites, and those sites were defaced and desecrated. It has only been under Israeli sovereignty that Jerusalem has been an open and thriving city, and people of all faiths have had their holy sites protected and afforded almost unfettered access.

As if the EU ministers’ statement were not offensive enough for ignoring this relevant history, it is remarkable that the ministers chose to issue this statement just after Prime Minister Netanyahu announced an unprecedented freeze of Israeli settlement activity for the sake of restarting peace negotiations with the Palestinians — who rejected the Prime Minister’s offer. Instead of commending Israel’s step and pressing the Palestinians for their recalcitrance, the ministers of the EU choose to act in favor of the Palestinians. This is unacceptable and should show that the EU has forfeited its role as a constructive party to resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Lastly, we wish to state that we appreciate the efforts by the United States government to ameliorate the EU’s action.