US Embassy in Jerusalem Dedication Speech
delivered 14 May 2018, Jerusalem, Israel
[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]
President Rivlin, *Speaker of the Knesset and his wife, Members of Knesset, Mayor of Jerusalem, Chairman of the opposition,* Secretary Mnuchin, Deputy Secretary John Sullivan, Jason Greenblatt and Naomi and your family, Ambassador David Friedman and Tammy and your family, Senators and Members of Congress, and the Governor of Florida:
We have no better friends in the world. You stand for Israel and you stand for Jerusalem. Thank you.
[Hebrew term unclear]...The Chief Rabbis of Israel, the distinguished Rabbis who are here, the [pastors], the ministers, the many friends who have come here from around the world, the many friends who have prayed for this day and have worked for this day: Thank you, all.
And of course, I want to especially welcome Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Your presence here today is a -- a testament to the importance of this occasion not only for the Trump Administration, but in a very personal way for you. For you, each of you, for the pursuit of peace, and for President Trump himself, thank you.
Dear friends, what a glorious day. Remember this moment! This is history! President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history!
All of us are deeply moved. All of us are deeply grateful. For me, being here brings back wonderful memories from my childhood.
[extended remarks in Hebrew not transcribed]
So, I know some of you didn't follow every word I said in Hebrew. And I'll tell you that I spent the first three years of my life in this neighborhood, in Ein Gedi Street in Talpiot, which is not very far away. There were a few charming houses here, many open fields. I remember ambling in these fields with my brother, Yoni. He was six. I was three. He held my hand very tight.
We’d walk to this wondrous house of Professor Joseph Klausner, the renowned Jewish historian, who was my father’s teacher. I used to peer through the slats of the wooden synagogue, where he and the great Israeli writer Shai Agnon used to pray on Shabbat. And, David [Friedman]0, I would approach this place right here, but only so far, because my mother told me, "You can't go any further." This was near the border. It was exposed to sniper fire.
That was then. This is now. Today, today, the most -- the embassy of the most powerful nation on earth, our greatest ally, the United States of America -- today its embassy opened here! What a difference. What a difference. So for me this spot brings back personal memories, but for our people it evokes profound collective memories of the greatest moments we have known on this city on a hill.
In Jerusalem -- In Jerusalem, Abram passed the greatest test of faith and the right to be the Father of our nation.
In Jerusalem, King David established our capital 3,000 years ago.
In Jerusalem, King Solomon built our Temple, which stood for many centuries.
In Jerusalem, Jewish exiles from Babylon rebuilt the Temple, which stood for many more centuries.
In Jerusalem, the Maccabees rededicated that Temple, and restored Jewish sovereignty in this land.
And it was here, in Jerusalem, some 2,000 years later that the soldiers of Israel spoke three immortal words: Har HaBayit Beyadenu. "The Temple Mount is in our hands" -- words that lifted the spirit of the entire nation.
We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay!
We are here in Jerusalem protected by the brave soldiers of the army of Israel led by our Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot. And our brave soldiers -- our brave soldier[s] are protecting the borders of Israel as we speak today. We salute them all. And the members of our security forces: the Shin Bet, the Mossad, whose head is with us today. We salute you all -- all of you!
We gather here today to celebrate another historic day in the life of this city, which I know will take its place alongside other momentous decisions in the history of our people.
Over a century ago, the Balfour Declaration recognized the right of the Jewish people to a national home in this land. And exactly 70 years ago today, President Truman became the first world leader to recognize the newborn Jewish state. Last December, President Trump became the first world leader to recognize Jerusalem as our capital. And today, the United States of America is opening its embassy right here in Jerusalem. Thank you -- Thank you, President Trump, for having the courage to keep your promises!
Thank you President Trump, and thank you all, for making the alliance between America and Israel stronger than ever. And thank you -- a special thank you -- to you, Ambassador Friedman. Thank you, David, for everything you do to bring our countries and our peoples closer together. Today, you have a special privilege: You are privileged to become the first American ambassador to serve your country in Jerusalem, and this is a distinct honor that will be yours forever. Nobody can be first again. Thank you, David.
My friends, this is a great day for Israel. It’s a great day for America. It’s a great day for our fantastic partnership. But I believe it’s also a great day for peace. I want to thank Jared [Kushner], Jason [Greenblatt], and David [Friedman] for your tireless efforts to advance peace; and for your tireless efforts to advance the truth.
The true -- The truth and peace are interconnected. A peace that is built on lies will crash on the rocks of Middle Eastern realities. You can only build peace on truth. And the truth is that Jerusalem has been and will always be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state. Truth, peace, and justice, as our Justice here Chanan Meltzer can attest, truth, peace and justice -- this is what we have, and this is what we believe in.
The prophet Zechariah declared over 2500 years ago: Koh ämar y'hwäh shav'Tiy el-tziYôn w'shäkhan'Tiy B'tôkh' y'rûshäläim w'niq'r'äh y'rûshälaim iyr-häémet. "So said the Lord: I will return to Zion, and I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the 'City of Truth.'"1
May the opening of this embassy, in this city, spread the truth far and wide, and may the truth advance a lasting peace between Israel and all our neighbors.
God bless the United States of America, and God bless Jerusalem, the eternal, undivided capital of Israel.
*Blessed are you, Hashem, our God, King of the universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.*
Thank you very much!
* = text within asterisks delivered in Hebrew
1 Zachariah 3:8
Audio Source: C-SPAN.org
Page Updated: 5/29/18
U.S. Copyright Status: Text = Uncertain. Audio = Property of AmericanRhetoric.com.