Hebrew Voices #59 – Michael Oren on Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

President Trump Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's Capital, Nehemia Gordon, Michael Oren, Trump, Jerusalem, Israel, Capital, True Peace, Hebrew Voices, jerusalem as israel's capital, michael oren on trump's recognition, recognition of jerusalem as israel's capital, trump's recognition of jerusalem, oren on trump's recognitionIn this episode of Hebrew Voices, Michael Oren on Trump's Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's Capital, Nehemia Gordon shares an exclusive interview with Michael Oren, a Deputy Minister in the government of Israel and the greatest living historian to have written on Israel. Oren explains the true significance of President Trump's declaration last week recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, how this has put an end to decades of antisemitic humiliation, and how it opens the possibility for true peace with the Arabs. Nehemia also shares his prayer for Jerusalem.

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Hebrew Voices #59 - Michael Oren on Trump's Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's Capital

You are listening to Hebrew Voices with Nehemia Gordon. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

Benjamin Netanyahu: Le ma’an Zion lo ekhesheh, u’l’ma’an Yerushalayim lo eshkot. (For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest. Isaiah 62:1)

Nehemia: Shalom, this is Nehemia Gordon, and welcome to a special episode of Hebrew Voices. Today, I want to talk about Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the people of Israel.

Last week, President Trump finally recognized Jerusalem as our capital, ordering the American embassy to be moved to the Holy City. To put this in perspective, Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel since around 1006 BC, when the city was conquered from the Jebusites by King David. It remained the capital of the kingdom of Israel, and later the kingdom of Judah, for over 400 years, even under the foreign occupation of the Persians, Greeks, Ptolemies and Seleucids. Jerusalem remained the capital of the autonomous province of Yehuda, in English, “Judea.” It was the capital of the Hasmonean Maccabees for 128 years until it became the capital of Herod's kingdom for another few decades.

It was the Romans who finally replaced Jerusalem as the capital of Judea with the coastal town of Caesarea. Jerusalem became the capital again under two successive short-lived Jewish kingdoms, commonly known by their imperialist Roman titles, the “Great Jewish Revolt” and the “Bar Kokhba Revolt.” When the Arabs conquered Jerusalem in 638 AD, they established a new city called Aramle, the sand dune, as their provincial capital.

Jerusalem will not be a capital again until 1099, when it was conquered by the Crusaders, and then again, when the British conquered the city from the Turks in 1917. In the heart of every Jew, Jerusalem has always been the eternal capital of the Jewish people. Despite this, the nations of the world have engaged in a collective insult by placing their embassies in Tel Aviv. When Jews turn in prayer to God, we face Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv. Jerusalem was the city where God said He put His name forever. It was Jerusalem that we sang about for 2000 years in exile, at the end of our prayers, “Bashana haba'a biYerushalayim,” “Next year in Jerusalem.” I want to take a few minutes to listen to the highlights of President Trump's speech proclaiming Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Here is President Donald Trump speaking on December 6, 2017.

President Trump: Today, I am delivering. I've judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process, and to work towards a lasting agreement. Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace.

It was 70 years ago that the United States, under President Truman, recognized the State of Israel. Ever since then, Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem, the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times. But today, we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel's capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It's something that has to be done. That is why, consistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers, and planners so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace. Above all, our greatest hope is for peace, the universal yearning in every human soul.

With today's action, I reaffirm my administration's long-standing commitment to a future of peace and security for the region. There will, of course, be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement, but we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a peace, and a place far greater in understanding and cooperation. This sacred city should call forth the best in humanity.

Nehemia: Wow, what profound words. I wanted to get a perspective on the political significance of President Trump's declaration that he recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and ordered the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem. A few months back, I interviewed Israel's Deputy Minister of Diplomacy in the Prime Minister's Office, Michael Oren, in a podcast entitled “The Battle for the Six Day War.” I reached out to his office and set up a phone interview. Here is my brief discussion with Michael Oren, the greatest living historian to have written on Israel, and a member of the government of the State of Israel.

I want to get your feedback. As a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, current deputy minister in the government of Israel and a professional historian, can you explain to my audience, what is the significance of the United States recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel last week?

Michael: It's a huge significance. America's policy for the last seventy years has been, I would claim, inapplicable and highly prejudicial to Jews. The short version, from 1948 to 1967, the United States did not recognize West Jerusalem as Israel's capital, because the United States was signed on the partition resolution of 1947 which designated Jerusalem as an international city. From 1957-1993 the United States didn't recognize all of Jerusalem, because Jerusalem had reunited in the Six Day War, it did not recognize all Jerusalem as Israel's capital, presumably because there would be negotiations to settle the final status of Jerusalem between Israel the Jordanians. From 1993, the United States didn't recognize Jerusalem as the capital, because the final status was determined between Israel, America and the Palestinians. Are you following this?

Nehemia: Yeah, it keeps shifting.

Michael: We're not done yet. In that period, Arabs could build anywhere in the city, and even illegally, because if you tried to take down an illegal Arab structure, it was accused of demolition, right? Whereas Jews could only build legally in certain neighborhoods. Now, if that situation obtained in any American city, it would be considered flagrant anti-Semitism. That was America's policy. And it was so inane, that at the end you had three different American consulate buildings in Jerusalem, one of which served as the embassy to the Palestinians. If you look at its website, there was no Hebrew on the website. There was no reference the State of Israel at all. It was if it didn’t exist. I found it deeply insulting.

So, the American policy was nonsensical at best, and prejudicial at worst. And back in 1995, the Congress determined to put an end to it, and said that they have to bring the American Embassy to Jerusalem. Successive American Presidents, Republican and Democratic, ignored that. They waived that bill. And along comes President Trump and finally puts an end to this inanity and prejudice, in my mind.

Nehemia: Wow, and what was your reaction when you heard this happen after all these decades?

Michael: Oh, I was delighted and relieved. I look forward to the time when they actually bring the embassy to Jerusalem. I think until that happens, the status of the city will not be determined as Israel's capital, but delighted. It was a courageous move, and I believe it will shake things up in the peace process and convince the Palestinians that perhaps time is not on their side, and that there's a price to be paid for leaving the negotiating table, as they've done repeatedly.

Nehemia: The narrative, certainly, that we're hearing in the United States is that that's it, this is destroying peace, and it's the end of any chance for peace.

Michael: Oh, I think it's just the opposite. I think it'll actually spur the peace process, because the peace process was dead. This spurs it. It spurs it by again, convincing the Palestinians that time is not on their side, that there's a price to be paid for leaving the table. That President Trump is a man of his word and has established American credibility, and that was sorely missing in previous rounds of negotiations, strictly under President Obama, it had no strong credibility with the sides. I think altogether you'll see that opportunities have been created by this.

Nehemia: What you're saying is actually something really significant that I don't think the listeners understand, because the narrative, as well, it's only because Israel is so-called “occupying East Jerusalem.” But actually before 1967, they didn't recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, you're saying.

Michael: No, people have very short memories, Nehemia. Very short memories.

Nehemia: And to put it in perspective, my nephew, who is a seventh generation-born Jerusalemite, and also a US citizen because his mother's a US citizen, it says “Jerusalem” on his passport, but it doesn't say “Israel” as the place of his birth.

Michael: My kids are the same way.

Nehemia: I mean, that's so deeply insulting.

Michael: The whole thing is insulting, it's humiliating. David Ben Gurion never met the American ambassador in Jerusalem. The American ambassador during the years when Ben Gurion was Prime Minister would only meet with the Prime Minister of Israel in Tel Aviv.

Nehemia: And currently, how many foreign embassies are there in Jerusalem?

Michael: None.

Nehemia: Zero, so it's de facto Israel's capital with the Knesset, with the Prime Minister's Office, and the Supreme Court and there's zero embassies currently in Jerusalem. So, this is a really bold move by President Trump.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely necessary. And we have to rally around it and see it as an historic event, but also an opportunity to move forward.

Nehemia: Wow. Well, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us.

Michael: My pleasure, as always.

Nehemia: All right, Shalom.

What an amazing perspective. Last week, I recorded a short YouTube video with my initial reactions to President Trump's announcement. Here's a soundtrack of that video.

This is an historic day. Today, President Trump, after 70 years, has finally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This is something that really we Jews have been praying for, for 2000 years. Every year at the end of the Passover Seder, we would pray the prayer, “Bashana haba'a biYerushalayim,” “Next year in Jerusalem.” Now, we're back in our country. This has been our capital since 1948, our political capital. It’s been our religious capital since 1006 BC, when King David made it the capital of his kingdom, and then established the precedent that the Temple would be built there.

And now, finally, the world has recognized that this is our capital, Yerushalayim, Jerusalem, the place where the Creator of the Universe chose to put His name forever. When I saw President Trump sit down and sign that document, I thought of another document that was written thousands of years ago. This took place in the Book of Ezra, back in chapter five of Ezra. The nations come to the Jews and say, “What are you doing? Who gave you permission to build in Jerusalem?” And they write a letter to King Daryavesh, to the Emperor of the Persian Empire, to Darius, to get him to stop the Jews from doing what they're doing, to stop their building in Jerusalem from making it their capital. And here's the response.

We read it in Ezra 6:1. It says, “Then King Darius made a decree and they searched the archives where the documents were stored in Babylon. But it was in Ecbatana, the capital in the province of Media, that a scroll was found in which this was written, a record. In the first year of his reign, King Cyrus issued a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, that the house be rebuilt.” And it goes on to say how the Jews will be allowed to go back to their land, and they’ll be allowed to build, then and now.

And today, I saw him sign that document, President Trump, and I realized 100 years from now, maybe, when the nations come against us, they will make a search in Washington, DC, and they'll find the document he signed today, and we'll have a record of it. I mean, we witnessed history today. It truly is witnessing history. It's something we've been waiting… since the time of King David, and certainly since 1948, when we established our modern state and made Jerusalem our capital. We've been waiting for this, and finally it's happened. It's always been our capital, but it's been recognized today, just like it was recognized by Darius in Ezra chapter 6.

I want to pray a prayer, the prayer that Jews pray when we're worthy to live long enough to see something happen, the she'hekheyanu prayer. “Barukh ata Yehovah, Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, shehekheyanu vekiyemanu vehigianu lazman hazeh.” “Blessed are You, Yehovah our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.” Thank you, Yehovah, for letting me see the day when the world began to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Your people, the place where you chose to put Your name forever. Amen.

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The 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act

The Presidential Document by the Executive Office of the President on November 6, 2017 "Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel and Relocating the United States Embassy to Israel to Jerusalem"

  • Gregory Irby says:

    I really enjoyed this interview. Happy 70th Birthday Israel! The return from Babylon after 70 years and Trump is building a wall! ?? Hmm…. Everyone knows that history repeats itself. As King Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun. Interesting video done by Perry Stone on YouTube, it’s titled ” The Trump Presidency”. It’s about prophetic cycles. I don’t endorse most of his stuff, but I think he’s really hit on something here. 28 minute video, it’s worth a look. May Yehovah Bless you guys!

  • Wesley Bulter says:

    In the most humble way I can put it, I don’t want to offend, what about Jehovah’s Witnesses who have been proclaiming This name since 1936, Why would Jehovah have Jehovah’s Witnesses write this in the Bible over 7000 times as a precursor your findings.

  • rion clark says:

    9th month (Kislev) 23rd day 2BCE Yehoshua received gifts from Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abendigo & Yehovah the father.

  • Raimund Meyer says:

    “…and therefore as a free man I take pride in the words ANI YERUSHALMI”

  • Shoshannah says:

    HalleluYAH! Yes we are living in an incredible time to see this happen! Some say this will pave the path to “Peace” with the Arabs. Are we close to the time when we will all say : Peace Peace! And then “SUDDEN DESTRUCTION'” ? I pray we are found worthy to escape the horrible things to come. May YAH be with us. Ken Yehi Ratzon…Shalom Shoshannah.

  • Hope not to ruin anyone’s day, but in my humble opinion it is too early for jubilation. Having read the prophets, I see many times of trouble still in Jerusalem’s future. With a sizable contingent Of Jewish Israel still agitating diligently for the 3rd exile by their violation of Yah’s instruction, it will seem like a race to see what happens first; them having their way, or the advent of eternal peace.

  • Alberto Trevino says:

    קריה יפיפיה – Beautiful Town – Kirya Yefefeiyah

    יְהֹוָה Blessed be forever The Eternal יְהֹוָה YEHOVAH, El Elyon, Elohim of
    Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

    The only Possessor of heaven and earth Who Alone formed light and created darkness, Alone His domiciles, יְהֹוָה יפיפיה

    I speak Truth As יְהֹוָה יפיפיה Beautiful YEHOVAH Lives, so should we

    יְהֹוָה Hava Nagila!!! יְהֹוָה

  • Fednold Meunier says:

    שלום נחמיה, מה שלומך? הלב שלי מלא שמחה, כי יהוה בחר בירושלים כבירת ישראל. ברוך ה ‘לנצח ולתמיד. הללויה! Let stop this Hebrew thing before I “ASSUME” too much. I just wanted to thank you your for all your work on behalf of the truth. יהוה יברך אותך! This is the second time that a program that you published has touch my heart so deeply that it causes me to cry. The first was the broadcast from Rocket City, and this most recent release of Hebrew Voices. I fancy meeting you some day and having an Chavrutah with you. Keep up the blessed work. שה יהוה יברך אותך, שלום!

  • Neville says:

    I am *very* glad that this happened. It is terrific. It is high time that the nations stopped trying to dictate to Israel.

    I do want to point out that no matter how President Trump’s document was titled, he did not finally cause the USA to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The US Congress did that 22 years ago. What he did was to decline to waive the relocation of the US embassy that is currently in Tel Aviv.

    We need to thank President Trump for what he did do, but we also need to recognize and thank that Congress for their actions over 2 decades ago.

  • Phillip George says:

    I’d like you to do a tete a tete with Robert Cornuke re Simon the Hasmonean. Today is Hanukkah eve based on moon sighting.
    Simon was neither of David’s Royal Line nor Kohanim. He was being used of God but was neither Kingly nor Priestly, but still used by God?
    Did he raze the city of David, the Original Zion, as his interim rulership arrangement.
    Being the ruler of Israel but neither King nor Priest put him in both a hard place but also a prophetic one.

    I’m keen on Mount Zion being physically rebuilt.

    It seems to me that Mount Zion was to the south, Mount Moriah to the North and inbetween was the Threshing floor of Jebusite Araunah was on the saddle back between those two high points.

    Zion was razed/ ploughed according to prophesy. [never happened to mount Moriah]
    The Romans utterly destroyed the Temple complex on the Threshing Floor. ridge/ saddle back/ corresponds to just above and west of the Gizah Spring.
    All that remains is the Mount Moriah/ Fortress of Antonio – which does itself have genuine spiritual significance. Possibly where Pilot sat in judgement of Yahoshuah.

    Now this is childishly simple. Does the coming Mashiach require a Throne to sit on or a Temple to be worshiped in.

    Zion will be the largest mountain. It will be raised up. [This is the unavoidable unalterable future history of Jerusalem] Given Mashiach requires a throne I suggest building the Mount Zion and putting a palace on top. A palace fit for the King of the the World. This will put Mount Moriah in a permanent shaddow.

    Cost. Lets say we can do it for a trillion USD. The good thing about this is that the geographical alteration will recreate the entire middle east.

    No one builds mountains without a kernel of faith. Simon the Hasmonean did a good job in his day. It is time for “us” to step up to the plate.

    Phillip George.
    Hanukkah Eve 2017
    800 years since Rabbi Judah ben Samuel.

  • Daniel Monroe says:

    HALLELU-YAH! When I saw the news the other day, I had to pinch myself (not dreaming). Truly historic and prophetic move – and may it be forevermore.

  • Devorah says: