Head to Head: Embassy Move to Jerusalem

Good Idea

After 70 years, it finally happened.

On Wednesday December 6, President Donald Trump announced that he will be moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. Although this announcement sparked controversy throughout the world, it was a positive step in the American-Israel relationship and for Israel’s image throughout the world.

By moving the Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President Trump officially acknowledged Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. As Zionistic Jews, we know that Jerusalem was and will always be the capital of Israel. Trump’s recognition of Israel’s true capital city showed that he fully supports the state of Israel and will hopefully set a precedent for other world leaders to move their embassies to Jerusalem as well.

Despite its good intentions, many are saying that Trump’s announcement has incited riots by Palestinians. However, if Trump had not moved the embassy to Jerusalem, they would just find another reason to slaughter innocent Israelis in the streets. There is no difference in the way Palestinian people treated Israelis before or after Trump’s speech. They have and will continue being angry with the Israeli people and moving the Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem does not change anything, which Donald Trump himself addressed in his speech.

“Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage, but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.”

It is simple; Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. We know that this angers other religions and cultures, so we have to fight for what we know is the truth. President Trump said to the rest of the world, “I am fighting with and for Israel.” He is demonstrating to other countries that no matter the retaliation, it is important to stand with Israel. Trump’s decision to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel sets a standard for the rest of the world and reaffirms what we have known all along: Jerusalem belongs to Israel.

By: Hannah Mayer (11th Grade)

Bad Move

I love Israel. I lived there for four years and I have an Israeli citizenship. Most of my family is from there and served in the Israeli army, and my cousin is currently training soldiers. Both my parents earned their degree from Israeli universities, and I am constantly surrounded by Israeli culture and a love for the country. There is no doubt in my mind that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and I want to see a day when the whole world recognizes that.

That being said, I don’t believe that Trump made the smartest decision by moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Many people say that it is amazing that he did this. Yes, it shows that America supports Israel, and that someone finally recognizes Jerusalem as ours, but at what cost should this be? Why do innocent people have to die for this? Even before Trump announced his decision, America always supported and stood with Israel. There are numerous congressmen and women who continuously support Israel and pass legislations against terrorism and help give money to Israel to support their missile defense systems such as the Iron Dome.

Israel is a very heated country, especially in Jerusalem. When Trump announced his plans of moving the embassy, he added unnecessary fuel to the fire. Now there are riots and Days of Rage going on throughout the muslim world, and they aren’t only burning the Israeli flag, but also America’s.

Israel always tries to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table. It wants to find ways to bring peace into the country and to not constantly be in a state of war. By Trump declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he took away any chance of bringing the Palestinians to the table. Palestinians saw this as America betraying them and won’t want to negotiate with them anymore. They now see America as a traitor, and not only hate Israel, but also America.

When living in Israel, it never once crossed my mind that Jerusalem was not the capital. Everyone there knows and recognizes it. I never once thought that it wasn’t.

Throughout my four years of living in Israel, I have been through two military operations and an outbreak of a war, and it was one of the most stressful things I have ever been through. I never knew when the next missile would come or when the next bus would blow up right behind my school. Every little decision would impact the lives of all Israelis. I still remember the day of my flight back to Miami. There were so many missiles that day, I was terrified to go home. So many thoughts were racing through my mind that day: “was I going to get on the plane? Will I be able to come back?”

These decisions don’t affect us in America, but they affect so many people, including my friends and family, in Israel. It is so easy for us to say that these decisions are amazing because they don’t directly affect us. We don’t have to be scared to walk to school or ride the bus, or wonder when the next rocket will come to our hometown. These are so many things that we don’t think about, and we take our safety for granted so many times.

Many people say that even though it seems bad that Trump moved the embassy, in the long run, it will be much better and helpful for the Jews. I understand this, however it is not fair to put other peoples’ lives on the line in order for America to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. More and more soldiers are going out on the street in order to keep civilians safe. Everyone recognizes that this is a very dangerous move, why do we have to do this now? Why not try to negotiate with the Palestinians before announcing this?

Even though I don’t agree with what Trump did and I don’t believe that Trump should have announced that he would move the embassy to Jerusalem, I am still a proud Israeli who wants to see peace in the country. There is no doubt in my mind that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, but I don’t think that this was the best time to announce that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. He should have built it up slowly and tried to negotiate with the Palestinians. Even though I don’t agree with what he did, I someday hope to see peace in the middle east and for the whole world to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.   By: Michal Cohen (12th Grade)

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