TEL AVIV – In the aftermath of the passage of a UNESCO resolution calling Israel’s presence in Jerusalem “illegal,” President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday urged the world to recognize the city as the capital of the Jewish state and to transfer their embassies there.
The president told foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel it was “absurd” that the world still refuses to acknowledge the country’s capital.
“Jerusalem has always been the center of the Jewish world. The place we have prayed towards for thousands of years. There was never any doubt, that Jerusalem would be the capital of Israel,” Rivlin told a group of foreign ambassadors who had gathered at the president’s residence for a reception to mark Israel’s Independence Day.
“We felt then that the dream of Jerusalem as the physical and spiritual capital of Israel had finally become a reality,” he added.
“It is time to put an end to the absurd. It is time to recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of the State of Israel. De facto, not just de jure. It is time to move all the official embassies here. To Jerusalem,” the president said.
Rivlin also stated that foreign diplomats have been visiting Jerusalem for 70 years to participate in official meetings at the Knesset, the President’s Residence and the Prime Minister’s Office.
“You were born to the fact of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. You know no other reality. Since the days of King David, there was not, there is not, and there never will be any other reality,” he told the dignitaries.
Last month, Russia released a statement saying it considers West Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, making it the first country in the world to do so.
“We reaffirm our commitment to the UN-approved principles for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, which include the status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state. At the same time, we must state that in this context we view West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said.
However, such a move is not likely to be accompanied by a transfer of Russia’s embassy from Tel Aviv to the capital. Moscow still remains committed to UN Security Council Resolution 478 that censured Israel in the 1980s over its declaration that a united Jerusalem was its capital and called on all nations to transfer their embassies to the city.