75°F
weather icon Clear

Israel celebrates as US Embassy prepares to open in Jerusalem

Updated May 13, 2018 - 9:22 pm

JERUSALEM — Celebrations across Israel welcomed the U.S. Embassy’s official relocation to this historic city Monday, a move that fulfills one of President Donald Trump’s biggest foreign policy campaign promises as well as a longtime wish of the American ally.

Ambassador David Friedman, who will preside over Monday’s dedication ceremony, told reporters, “We are extremely proud of the fact that we have been able to open the embassy, as the president likes to say, ahead of schedule and under budget.”

Trump will not attend Monday’s embassy ceremony, but he is expected to address the planned audience of 800 remotely by video.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a reception Sunday night at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the lead-up to Monday’s embassy opening. Earlier Sunday, young Jews marched and danced through city streets to celebrate Jerusalem Day, which commemorates the 1967 reunification of Jerusalem by Israel after the Six-Day War.

But the embassy move has its opponents. Protests from Palestinians erupted over the weekend and are expected to continue this week.

Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List of Arab-dominated parties in the national legislature of Israel, tweeted, “There’s nothing festive about transferring the embassy. … The bullying of the Netanyahu-Trump alliance continues to deepen the conflict, to kindle racism and to spread hatred and violence.”

Friedman credited Trump for making a “cost-effective” decision to carve out space in the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem to create the embassy in the suburb of Arnona in a matter of months.

Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan is leading the U.S. delegation in the absence of Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Sullivan spoke strongly in support of the embassy switch Sunday night.

First family members and advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are expected to bring some glamour to the dedication. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt also are part of the team.

Republican megadonors and Las Vegas residents Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, who had pressed Trump to move the embassy, also appeared at Sunday’s party.

“People have been waiting for 70 years for this to happen. We can’t thank Trump enough,” Sheldon Adelson told the Review-Journal.

The crowd had a mix of high-profile political and legal figures, including Jay Sekulow, who is part of Trump’s private legal team responding to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe; Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor emeritus and Trump supporter; and Abbe Lowell, an attorney who has defended a number of Democratic politicians and now represents Kushner.

Signs thanking Trump for keeping his campaign promise on the Jerusalem embassy could be seen around town. Israel previously had announced it would name a train station near the Western Wall after Trump. In addition, a square near the Jerusalem compound will be named in Trump’s honor.

On Friday, diplomatic staff gathered to toast the last day of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, which will become a consulate. Friedman will continue to work out of both locations as the United States explores sites for a permanent building.

The Trump administration continues to emphasize that it has not taken sides on specific boundaries that could be negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinians.

The Review-Journal is owned by Sheldon and Miriam Adelson.

Contact Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Tomi Lahren Speaks at UNLV - VIDEO
Fox News contributor and UNLV alumna Tomi Lahren returned to campus Wednesday night for a speech, titled “Stay Triggered,” that drew an auditorium of supporters as well as a group of protesters outside. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders released from Las Vegas hospital - VIDEO
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., issues a statement after he was released from Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. (Bernie Sanders via Twitter)
Democratic presidential candidates speak on impeachment - VIDEO
Democratic presidential candidates attending the March for Our Lives/Giffords Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas comment on possible impeachment proceedings. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden Las Vegas Rally Highlights - Video
2020 presidential candidate, Joe Biden, came to Las Vegas to talk guns, climate change and the Ukranian-Trump scandal. Biden was interrupted by a protestor who sat amongst supporters at the rally and continued with his speech. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden comments on Trump and his campaign efforts in Nevada - Video
After an impeachment inquiry was opened on Donald Trump, Joe Biden talks with Review-Journal politics reporter Rory Appleton about Trump and his campaign in Nevada. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Europe now willing to take IS prisoners in Syria, Trump says

Claiming new progress against Islamic State extremists in Syria, President Donald Trump said Friday that some European nations are now willing to take responsibility for detained IS fighters who are from their countries.

White House admission on link of Ukraine aid, Biden probe brings fallout

White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s initial remarks, made during a rare appearance by an administration official in the White House briefing room, spun open a new phase of the impeachment inquiry.