President Donald J. Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands.
In a few moments ancient prophecies will be fulfilled and veritable truths realized when the United States moves its embassy to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. It will also be a day when we will remember the strength and courage of the man who made it happen: President Donald Trump.
Over the past decades the United States Congress was sincere when voting overwhelmingly to relocate our embassy from Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest city, to Jerusalem, Israel’s dedicated capital. It made sense; after all, every country in the world decides the location of its capital and embassies are located in those capitals. It also was the right thing to do. Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel ever since King David, 3,000 years ago, consecrated Jerusalem as Judea’s capital. Soon, he drafted the plans for The Holy Temple and almost immediately thereafter his son, Solomon, built the palaces and ancient temple on those lofty hills. Everyone knows this.
As far back as Abraham, the hills of Jerusalem and Mt. Moriah specifically have played a pivotal role among the Hebrews in their ancient biblical land. For millennia Jewish hearts and prayers were directed toward a return to Zion, Zion being the synonym for Jerusalem itself. No other people or nation who temporarily traversed the land between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River has made Jerusalem a centerpiece of their theology, history, spiritual yearning, nor the zenith of their joy and celebration. No one but the Jewish people has cultivated it and made the land blossom and its cities flourish. Yet, until now the embassy move has not happened.
The U.S. embassy will move to Jerusalem on May, 14, 2018, 70 years after the founding of Israel, which was resurrected as the Jewish state in May, 1948. Seventy years is a completed life time, as the Psalmist states: “The years of our life are seventy years.” Seventy years in Jewish outlook is an historical time unit, representing a significant chapter in human history. Seventy years after the first Temple was burned by the Babylonian Nebechenazzer and the Jews were driven into Exile, the exile ended and many returned to Israel and rebuilt Jerusalem. Seventy years signifies completion and full circle.
The Muslims, through sword and blood, confiscated Jerusalem’s holy mount by erecting a mosque where the Temple once stood. They did so, as they have throughout centuries of armed invasions, to make a monument to their conquest of the land and to erase its previous, legitimate history. Jerusalem was never part of Islam’s liturgy, nor mentioned in its Koran. The mosque was protected as a religious site, though it served as an outpost for domination over those who were not Muslim. Only in the last few years, in an attempt to deny the Jewish nation her rightful and historical attachment and sovereignty to Zion, has the Islamic world suddenly made Jerusalem important to them. Mecca and Medina are their holy places. Whereas, Jerusalem is but a political expedient.
Many good-willed American presidents pledged to move our embassy to Jerusalem, but out of fear of Arab riots and backlash, they allowed themselves to put off the decision for a later date. The United Nations and virtually all of the countries of the world were either afraid to relocate their embassies, or in their ultimate negation of the right for Israel to exist as a Jewish state, never even considered moving their embassy to Jerusalem. They were either afraid or were rejectionists. Many organizations spoke the proper words, but when push-came-to-shove, they chose to accept the delays and kick-the-can down the road. What makes President Trump different from all previous presidents is that beyond speaking positively about the move, he actually is doing it.
Trump is a man of action. And he is a man of conviction and fortitude who acts upon what he knows to be right. He is refreshingly fearless. He believes in Israel, indeed seems to love the country. He knows the centrality of Jerusalem in the scheme of Zion and is making truth happen. He understands symbolism and knows there is no greater sign of support and symbol of friendship than moving America’s embassy to Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem. He will not be cowed by threats of jihad.
In President Trump we are reminded of the ancient King of Persia, Cyrus. It was Cyrus, among all the kings of the world, who declared that he would make provisions for the Jews to restore themselves in the land of Israel/Judea and, indeed, Nehemiah, and others before him, began rebuilding the walls surrounding Jerusalem, Zion. No one knows if Cyrus was a man 100 percent above sin. But Cyrus was a king, not a priest; and it’s the job of kings to create history and do those things that are grand and historic, to do those things regular people are not empowered to do.
When President Harry Truman in 1948, against the will of his State Department and others in the media, voted to recognize the State of Israel, he said casting that vote in the U.N. made him feel he was following in the steps of that great Persian king, Cyrus. He told friends how he remembered reading in his bedroom about Cyrus in the Old Testament, while listening to the late night train whistle as it sped through the countryside of Missouri. Truman fulfilled a prophecy – and made history, good history.
By officially recognizing Jerusalem, in the name of the United States, the greatest and most powerful nation in the world, as the capital of Israel, President Trump is making good history, doing what is right, proving principle over timidity, demonstrating friendship. Though not a “holy roller,” President Trump is fulfilling prophecies – the prophecies of Zachariah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. I am happy to be living on this day when miracles are made through the acts of mortals, by strong men above their peers.
Many were instrumental in bringing this day about, beginning with England’s Home Secretary Lord Balfour, who a century ago in 1918 declared that: His Majesty’s government looks favorably upon the return of the Jews to their ancient homeland and to therein establish a state of their own in the land and boundaries of their ancestors. Credit goes to Winston Churchill; LBJ, who helped her in the ’67 War; Richard Nixon during the Yom Kippur War; and Ronald Reagan and earlier American presidents as far back as the 19th Century, who were Christian Zionists.
Credit also goes to the current Evangelical Christian community and its leaders and to many non-liberal Jewish individuals and organizations. Unfortunately, too many liberal Jews have traded in their Judaism for multiculturalism and left-wing intersectionality. They have detached themselves from their historic identity with the Promised Land and currently find their promise in hedonistic and anti-Trump causes. They have chosen faddishness over eternity. For them, Israel is but a yawn.
The move of the embassy by Mr. Trump to Jerusalem is indicative of the great measure of this man. To me, a man is great when he forthrightly speaks his mind, follows through on his pledges, demonstrates friendship, feels responsible to protect those who he’s entrusted to protect, cares about right over wrong, and is willing to battle all those arrayed against him while he’s doing the right thing. That is the measure of a great man. Mr. Trump is a great president, displaying characteristics we have not seen in decades.
Congratulations, Mr. Trump, for what you have done, and congratulations, Israel, for being restored to the glory your prophets promised, and to your people who have toiled in earthly and transcendent purpose.
Rabbi Spero, who also served as a pulpit rabbi, has been invited to inform policy-makers, candidates, and elected officials in the halls of Congress, and in the Executive, regarding the moral and religious dimensions of policies and legislation under consideration.