Pence says U.S. embassy to move to Jerusalem in 2019

  |  Source: Religion News Service

The Dome of the Rock and Jerusalem’s Old City is seen from the Mount of Olives. Last month, President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and instructed the State Department to begin the multi-year process of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city. (AP Photo via RNS/Oded Balilty)

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JERUSALEM (USA Today)—Vice President Mike Pence announced the U.S. embassy in Israel will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2019.

Pence made the announcement Jan. 22 at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Pence for standing up for the “truth” and supporting Israel at the United Nations. He said the United States and Israel have a “shared destiny.”

President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the country’s capital last month was one of the most historic in Israel’s history, Netanyahu said.

“America has no greater friend than Israel, and Israel has no greater friend than the United States of America,” he said.

Palestinians and Arab Israelis boycotted Pence’s visit after Trump broke with decades of U.S. policy by announcing the embassy move.

Arab lawmakers were told to leave Israel’s parliament for heckling Pence at the beginning of his speech.

Israel sees Jerusalem as its “eternal” capital and Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Other nations, including the United States, established their embassies in Tel Aviv in an attempt to stay neutral. Previous U.S. presidents have said the decision on Israel’s capital must come from a negotiated agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Gregory Korte of the Associated Press contributed to this report. Distributed by Religion News Service.

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