US envoy tells Christian media: World secretly respects Trump’s Jerusalem move

Every day at the new embassy is a ‘singular experience in which yet another miracle presents itself,’ David Friedman says

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks to members of the Christian press, during an event in Jerusalem, October 14, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks to members of the Christian press, during an event in Jerusalem, October 14, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The world secretly respects the US administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, despite vocal international protests against the move, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Sunday.

“I would suggest that no one mistake the UN vote for the true sentiments of the nations of the world with regard to the US recognition of Jerusalem,” he said, referring to a resolution passed in the United Nations General Assembly two weeks after US President Donald Trump’s surprise announcement about the Israeli capital.

“Two-thirds at the UN may have publicly voted to condemn the president’s courageous act,” Friedman said a Jerusalem conference for Christian reporters.

“But every nation, once off the public stage, has nothing but respect for what the president has done. Because the president spoke the truth and, as we learn from the Book of John, ‘the truth will set us free.’”

On December 21, a whopping 128 countries voted in favor of a non-binding resolution declaring “null and void” any actions intended to alter Jerusalem’s character, status or demographic composition, and calling on all countries to refrain from moving their embassies to the city.

Nine countries — the US, Israel, Togo, Micronesia, Guatemala, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands and Honduras — voted against the resolution. There were 35 abstentions and 21 countries did not cast a vote.

The voting results are displayed on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly in which the United States declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was declared “null and void” on December 21, 2017 in New York City. The vote, 128-9, at the United Nations concerned Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate its embassy there. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

On May 14, the US became the first country to move its embassy to Jerusalem. Guatemala and Paraguay followed suit a few days later, though the latter has since reneged and relocated its mission in Israel to Tel Aviv.

Addressing the Government Press Office’s second annual Christian Media Summit, Friedman said in that the immediate aftermath of the move he was unable to describe his feelings, telling people that he “needed more time to process the importance and impact of this historic event.”

US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman speaks at the official opening ceremony of the US Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

But, he added, five months later, he managed to collect his thoughts.

“I must tell you: every single day that I get up and go to work at the Jerusalem Embassy is a singular experience in which yet another miracle presents itself,” he said, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had addressed the conference before Friedman, looked on smiling.

PM Netanyahu looks on as US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks to members of the Christian press during an event in Jerusalem, October 14, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“It doesn’t ever get old. It doesn’t ever become routine. It isn’t anything I take for granted. A day does not go by where I don’t thank God for the privilege of being the first United States ambassador to serve his country from this holy city.”

Friedman had begun his speech by welcoming attendees of the conference to the “eternal capital of Israel,” stressing that merely 10 months ago, it was impossible for any US government to state “the obvious and undeniable truth that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.”

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