Christian Zionists in US rally for Jerusalem embassy move

Christian Zionists in US rally for Jerusalem embassy move
Christian Zionist groups in the US have come together to back Donald Trump's potentially explosive pledge to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
3 min read
27 January, 2017
The plan to move the US embassy was welcomed by the Israeli government [Getty]

Prominent members of several right-wing Christian Zionist movements have publically backed the potential move of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

During his election campaign, US President Donald Trump vowed to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital - a major break from the policy of previous administrations and the consensus of the international community.

News that the new US administration was planning - as one of its first major foreign policy gestures - to relocate the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem spread quickly in the aftermath of Trump's swearing-in last Friday.

While Trump said on Thursday it was too early to discuss the move, the potential passing of the explosive decision was welcomed by the Israeli government but has been labelled by some Palestinians as a declaration of war.

"I don't want to talk about it yet. It's too early," Trump told Fox News.

Sensing hesitation, prominent Christian Zionist groups in the US have come together to back the move.

The term "Christian Zionist" is given to a number of mainly-Protestant Evangelical movements who believe that US support for the Israel is in accordance with Biblical prophecies.

Finding backing from the different Israeli governments in the past, US Christian Zionist movements have proclaimed an "undivided" Jerusalem as the only capital of the Israel.

According to New York-based The Algemeiner, US director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem [ICEJ], Susan Michael, said "millions of Christians around the world understand from their Bible the spiritual significance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people, and that it was established as the capital of Israel some 3,000 years ago by King David".

Michael added she would like to see the Trump administration follow suit and recognise Jerusalem as the capital by moving the US embassy there.

Meanwhile, Matthew Staver, president of the Christians in Defense of Israel ministry echoed Michael's call.

"Support for Israel comes from both the Bible, which clearly establishes that God gave the land of Israel to the Jews, and from history that confirms the continuity of the connection between Israel and the Jewish people," Staver said.

"To deny recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is anti-Semitic."

Similarly the founding executive director and board member of Christians United for Israel, David Brog, said that many Christians who read the Bible "understand that Jerusalem is and has always been Israel's capital city, and they simply don't understand why Israel should be the only nation on Earth where we do not place our embassy in the capital."

Highlighting the strong support amongst certain Christian evangelical communities for Trump, the President of the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition, Mario Bramnick, believes that Trump's support for Israel was a leading factor in voter turnout during the presidential elections.

"As evangelicals, we support President Trump's resolve in moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

"We believe that the land of Israel, with an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, was given by God to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by way of an eternal covenant, and that no president, prime minister or monarch has any authority to take it away."

The final status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest issues in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Israel considers Jerusalem - including the eastern Palestinian sector it annexed in 1980 - as its indivisible capital.

For the Palestinians, it is the capital of their future state.