Chief Rabbi of Russia Berl Lazar characterized Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as “restoration of justice,” noting that the ancient city of Jerusalem “has always been a Jewish capital.”
“On virtually all instances when states with a predominantly Jewish population existed in the region, Jerusalem was their capital. When there were no such states, Jerusalem nevertheless retained the status of a religious center of Jewish people,” Lazar said in a statement.
The chief rabbi also added that, in particular, Jerusalem is home to the Western Wall, commonly known as the Wailing Wall, which has been considered to be the holiest place for Jews for hundreds of years. According to Lazar, Trump’s decision means “acknowledgement of a historical fact, though overdue,” since Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital “since the foundation of the Israeli state.”
The chief rabbi dismissed claims that recognizing Jerusalem as a capital will spark a violent conflict in the Middle East. He explained that the gesture is unlikely to fuel violence in the region if the international community ceases to stir up hysteria around the issue.
Lazar’s statement comes in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there.
I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem… pic.twitter.com/YwgWmT0O8m
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2017
The decision over the relocation of the US diplomatic mission was made back in 1995, however, the implementation has been repeatedly postponed by the US presidents due to the sensitivity of the issue and the contested status of Jerusalem.
The ancient city is claimed as the capital by both Israel and Palestine, which are locked in a fundamental conflict over borders. The international community does not recognize these claims, since the UN resolution of 1947 defines Jerusalem as a “separated body” under the UN administration.