April 22, 2024
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Young Israel Defends Israel’s Right to Build

The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) recently defended Israel’s right to build housing units for its citizens in its capital city in response to the White House and the U.S. State Department having sharply criticized Israel for allowing the construction of 2,610 residential housing units to commence in Givat Hamatos, a Jerusalem neighborhood.

The following is a statement from NCYI President Farley Weiss:

“The condemnation of Israel’s decision to permit the construction of apartments in its capital Jerusalem is unacceptable. The notion that somehow areas of Israel’s capital Jerusalem should be off limits to Jews is repugnant. We find it ironic that there was no reproach from the United States when Israel recently approved the construction of Arab apartments in Jerusalem. The apparent double standard on the part of the Administration that it is somehow acceptable for Arabs to live anywhere in Jerusalem but Jews have restrictions on where they can reside is astonishing. We call on the Administration to immediately retract their [sic] criticism.

“Although the United States has repeatedly stated that it supports Israel having secure borders, their [sic] recent criticism of the Jewish State calls that commitment into question. After witnessing the onslaught of terrorist attacks from Gaza this past summer and the incessant rocket fire launched at communities and cities throughout Israel, it is clearer than ever that Israel cannot cede any land near significant population centers and still maintain its security. Israel cannot arbitrarily give up portions of Jerusalem and properly protect its citizens at the same time. Israel must maintain sovereignty over all of Jerusalem in order to have secure borders.

“The criticism emanating from the United States further directly controverts the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, in which it expressly states that it is U.S. law that a united Jerusalem, including the area in which the new construction is being proposed, is recognized as the capital of Israel. The Administration cannot assume a position that is diametrically opposed to U.S. law, which is what it has inexplicably chosen to do in this situation.

“The issue of Jewish rights to Jerusalem is not just a consensus issue for Israel and many American Jews, but it was also overwhelmingly supported in a 93-5 vote by the United States Senate when it enacted the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. Among those lawmakers voting to express the Senate’s strong and explicit statement of support for a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was current Secretary of State John Kerry and current Vice President Joe Biden. Secretary of State Kerry was further part of a letter signed by 84 U.S. Senators, which stated that the waiver provision of the Jerusalem Embassy Act only related to moving the Embassy to Jerusalem and not to recognizing a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Secretary Kerry had a strong record of support for Israel in the Senate; we surely hope that he is not abandoning those positions now that he is Secretary of State.

“The National Council of Young Israel strongly defends Israel’s inherent legal right to build in its capital city of Jerusalem and we call upon the White House and the State Department to reassess their criticism and act in a manner that is in compliance with U.S. law concerning the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

For the past 102 years, the National Council of Young Israel has ably served the broader Jewish community. With more than 25,000 member families and nearly 200 branch synagogues throughout the United States, Canada, and Israel, the National Council of Young Israel is a multi-faceted organization that embraces Jewish communal needs and often takes a leading role in tackling the important issues that face the Jewish community in North America and Israel.

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