Monday, May 14, 2018
America Sends Today from Its New Jerusalem Embassy a Deeply Heartfelt "Happy Birthday, Israel"
A DAY TO REMEMBER WITH HONOR. After the Trouping of the Colors and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman gave the opening speech for the new US Embassy in Jerusalem. It was a moment to stir the hearts of all Americans with its reminder that there is no greater bond between two nations anywhere in the would than the bond that exists between The United States of America and The State of Israel. • • • AMBASSADOR FRIEDMAN'S SPEECH. About 500 people, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, representatives of the four branches of the US Armed Forces and of the Christian Zionist community and both houses of Congress and an A-list of Israeli and American government officials gathered in south Jerusalem Monday to mark the official transformation of the former consular services compound in the capital to the United States embassy in Israel. • In a holiday atmosphere marked by Sousa marches, Ethiopian-Israeli singer Hagit Yaso and unabashed adoration for President Donald Trump, event organizers distributed red and blue baseball caps with the new embassy emblem before a Marine color guard presented the American and Israeli flags ahead of the Star Spangled Banner, sung a cappella by Marine Sergeant First Class Cameron Hubbard. • Ambassador David Friedman welcomed a jubilant crowd to the United States embassy in Jerusalem, Israel, drawing a standing ovation at the words “Jerusalem, Israel” and another at the mention of US President Donald Trump. Ambassador Friedman began with the historic context of the day : “Just 11 minutes after David Ben Gurion declared independence, President Harry Truman became the first country to recognise that declaration. 70 years later, we take the next step -- we open the United States embassy in Jerusalem. Again the United States leads the way.” THe crowd went wild with enthusiastic applause and cheers. Friedman added that efforts to move the embassy began in 1995 and was reaffirmed last year by a Senate vote of 90-0 : “Twenty-three years after transfer of the embassy became the law of the land, today we give Israel the same right we give to every other nation -- the right to name its own capital." • • • ISRAEL PRESIDENT REUBEN RIVLIN'S REMARKS. President Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin said the Jewish people had sworn to keep faith with Jerusalem for 3,000 year and prayed for the city before donning a kipa and reciting the traditional Hebrew blessing of thanksgiving. President Rivlin said : “Since establishment of State of Israel 70 years ago, Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel. As President Trump has said, obvious should be said from time-to-time : Jerusalem is the heart of sovereignty of the State of Israel. Yes, President Trump -- Jerusalem is home to president of Israel, Jerusalem is the home of the government of Israel, the Knesset, the legislature of Israel, Jerusalem is the home of the Supreme Court of Israel. The State of Israel’s commitment to Jerusalem is not only a commitment to the history of the Jewish People. but commitment to all residents of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a microcosm -- of our ability of Jews and Arabs to live together. And as of today, it is the home of the American embassy in Israel. Thank God.” • • • ISRAEL'S CHIEF RABBI SPOKE. The Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israal, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, spoke at the welcome ceremony for the American delegation at the Israeli Foreign Ministry on Sunday evening : “America has always been a kingdom of grace, but President Trump himself is a king of kindness. Fifty-one years ago, we broke through the walls, lowered the barriers, so that Jerusalem would become a whole city of peace and unity, where every person would find his place. On such a day, which is entirely made of thanksgiving to the Holy One, there is no more appropriate thing to do than to thank the special relationship that the State of Israel has earned with the United States.” The Chief Rabbi added : “For years Israel has been fighting for justice, for the truth....Not an easy war against a world of hatred and evil, against incessant anti-Semitism....But in the end the truth must come out. We were granted a President who knows this truth without reservation, who declares to all peoples and religions : Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.” At the end of the Chief Rabbi’s speech, the daughter and son-in-law of President Trump, Ivanka and Jared Kushner, approached him and asked for his blessing. • • • RISHON LEZION. The Rishon LeZion asked the Kushners to convey the thanks and appreciation of the people of Israel for the transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem. • Rishon LeZion means "First to Zion.” It was the very first modern Jewish colony established in the ancient Land of Israel. In 1881, anti-Semitic riots, “pogroms”, broke out in southern Russia and the Ukraine, resulting in two streams of Jewish immigration : A mass immigration of Jews to America (the “Golden Land”), and a very small immigration to Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel), the result of the nascent “Lovers of Zion” movement in Eastern Europe. On March 19, 1882, Zalman David Levontin and Joseph Feinberg founded in Jaffa the “Committee of Yesod Ha’maala Pioneers,” the first organization with the aim of purchasing land in order to establish Jewish agricultural settlements. These pioneers hoped to serve as an example for others to follow and settle in the Holy Land. After buying the 850 acres (3,340 dunams) of land known as “Ayun Kara,” on July 31,1882, seventeen courageous Jewish families from Eastern Europe founded their agricultural settlement, Rishon LeZion -- basing the name on the Biblical passage “We are the first to Zion and will bring good tidings to Jerusalem” (Isaiah 41:27). They suffered severe shortages of everything, butt hey prevailed, and Rishon LeZion has made important national contributions in many realms. Zionist symbols and institutions created here laid the foundations for Jewish nationality in the land, leading to the establishment of the State of Israel. They were responsible for the revival of the Hebrew language as a spoken language and not only a religious one. The blue and white flag flown for the first time at Rishon LeZion’s 3rd anniversary parade would later become Israel’s original national flag, consisting of a “tallit” (prayer shawl) with two light blue stripes of cloth sewed on, and a blue Star of David in its center. The words of HaTikva (“The Hope”), Israel´s national anthem, were written by Naphtali Herz Imber in 1883, while he was visiting Rishon LeZion. The anthem was sung for the first time in 1887 by schoolchildren in Rishon LeZion, and the song quickly became popular throughout the country. The first Hebrew plough was made in 1891 in Rishon LeZion by a young blacksmith, Yitzhak Leib Toporovsky. Improving on the traditional wooden Arab plough, he invented and cast a sturdy narrow-bladed iron plough suited to the local soil and crops. The first Hebrew Community Hall was constructed in Rishon LeZion in 1898. Dedicated in appreciation of Baron and Baroness Rothschild who had helped fund the colony, it was the first public building built with funds collected by the farmers rather than with the Baron’s aid. The hall was used as a social and cultural center accommodating local committee meetings, theater productions, lectures and reading evenings in Hebrew. It also housed a library and the first Hebrew orchestra, founded in 1895. In 1889 Keren Kayemet, then called “The Association for the National Fund for Eretz Israel,” was conceived of in Rishon LeZion for the purpose of collecting donations to purchase and rehabilitate land. The founders were young Rishon farmers who met secretly, twelve years before the Jewish National Fund was officially established at the 5th Zionist Congress in Basel in 1901. And, the struggle for equal rights for women, under the leadership of farmer and author Nehama Pohatchevsky, began in 1917 in Rishon LeZion, where women obtained equal voting rights for the first time, and in 1919 Nehama was voted the first woman to head the village committee. • • • ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU SPOKE. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara welcomed the US delegation on Sunday to the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, at a special reception held at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. During the event, the prime minister presented a Letter of Appreciation to US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman in gratitude for his activity on behalf of moving the Embassy to Jerusalem. Following areexcerpts of the Prime Minister Netanyahu’s remarks : “Dear friends, from Israel, from the United States, from around the world. This is a momentous time. President Trump is making history. We are deeply grateful and our people will be eternally grateful for his bold decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the embassy there tomorrow....you’re coming at a time when Israel is a rising power in the world, you know, in cyber, in IT, in water, in judo, in singing. You know what we say: Those who didn’t want Jerusalem in the Eurovision are going to get the Eurovision in Jerusalem. Next year in Jerusalem. Well, that’s next year, but tomorrow will be a historic day for our people and for our state. President Trump’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem affirms a great and simple truth : Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for the past three thousand years. It’s been the capital of our state for the past 70 years. It will remain our capital for all time. Thank you President Trump for your bold decision, thank you for making the alliance between Israel and the United States stronger than ever. Now, you know how you recognize real leadership? It’s when others follow, and others are following in President Trump’s footsteps. I thank Guatemala’s Foreign Minister, who is here, Sandra Jovel, who has joined us today. We will open your embassy two days from tomorrow. Thank you. I thank the President of Paraguay and the incoming President of Paraguay, because they’ll open their embassy a few days after that. And other nations are in the process of doing exactly that....I call on all countries to join the US in moving their embassies to Jerusalem. Move your embassies to Jerusalem because it’s the right thing to do. And move your embassies to Jerusalem -- listen to this : Move your embassies to Jerusalem because it advances peace, and that’s because you can’t base peace on a foundation of lies. You base peace on the foundations of truth, and the truth is that not only has Jerusalem been the capital of the Jewish people for millennia and the capital of our state from its inception, the truth is that under any peace agreement you could possibly imagine, Jerusalem will remain Israel’s capital. It took President Trump, a President Trump to enunciate this simple, basic truth. And once enunciated, that truth will propagate....And to achieve peace, we have to do one other thing : We must confront the enemies of peace, and I thank President Trump for his decision to confront Iran rather than to appease it. Pulling out of the nuclear deal means that the world’s greater sponsor of terrorism, greatest sponsor of terrorism, is no longer on a glide-path to attaining an arsenal of nuclear weapons. This is good for Israel, this is good for the region, it’s good for the world. Now, I have something to say to part of the world : With all due respect to those sitting in European capitals, we here in the capitals of the Middle East -- in Jerusalem, in Riyadh and elsewhere -- we’ve seen the disastrous consequences of the Iran deal. And so when President Trump decides to pull out of this deal, to walk away from it, we know that when he walks away from a bad deal, he’s doing a good thing for our region, for the United States and for the world. And this is what I’ve just discussed with the American delegation. I welcome Deputy Secretary Sullivan, Secretary Mnuchin, Jason Greenblatt, Ambassador David Friedman, who I mentioned before, and of course a special welcome to Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka. I’ve known Jared for 10 years, and there’s a special bond between our families, but I think the fact that you and Ivanka are here is a special, personal testament, but also a national and international statement. It is one that touches our hearts, and we are all delighted by your presence at any time, at any day, but especially on this day. Thank you. We value all of your friendships, all of you for coming here on this historic occasion. Thank you for standing up with Israel. Thank you for standing up for the truth. Thank you for standing up for Jerusalem. Thank you for coming here from all over the world. We are celebrating a momentous day. Happy birthday Jerusalem. Thank you all.” • • • DEAR READERS, yes, there was trouble at the Gaza - Israel border, and yes, the Democrats in the US chose to boycott the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. But, these are trivial footnotes in the historic occasion that we witnessed on Monday, May 14, 2018. There will be time tomorrow to talk about the problems, but today, we want to savor the event and dwell on the joy that was written large on the face of every Israeli when America finally fulfilled its promise of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. President Trump entered history with his bold decision, and he took America with him on the historic journey from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. • From America, we send today a deeply heartfelt "Happy Birthday, Israel." Yom huledet same'ach - יום הולדת שמח