Why Jerusalem Matters
The memorial to President John F. Kennedy is shaped as the stump of a fallen tree, symbolizing a life cut short. Surrounding it are acres of pristine forest, planted long ago in his honor, with other adjoining acreage for his brother Robert, and still another for his son John, Jr.
The Kennedy Memorial is built on a tall plateau overlooking a lush valley so stunning it evokes images of Eden. On a clear day one can gaze all the way to the distant sea.
It is the largest memorial for the slain American president beyond the borders of the United States.
The 9/11 Living Memorial is shaped as a large bronze flag fluttering like a flame to symbolize the demise of the Twin Towers. Its base is made from the steel of the Towers. The names of all the victims of 9/11 are inscribed in the plaza surrounding the monument.
It is the largest 9/11 memorial beyond the borders of the United States.
Both memorials are in Jerusalem. Not London. Not Rome. Not Paris. Jerusalem, Israel.
No one from America asked or expected the Jews of Israel to build these memorials. But build them they did.
By a people and city that have always shared a sincere affection for the American nation, with a unique historical bond from the same Bible that inspired our ancestors to these shores to build a City on a Hill. A New Jerusalem.
So captivated were our Founding Fathers with Jerusalem that several studied Hebrew just so they could read the Bible in its original text. Abraham Lincoln wanted to travel there to be able to walk in the City of the Prophets.
The capital of David and Solomon, Ben-Gurion and Begin. The 3,000 year City on a Hill so sacred in the Jewish faith there's hardly a prayer that doesn't mention it.
For nearly two millennia following Jerusalem's destruction in antiquity the yearning for their sacred city was so intense that Jews everywhere would conclude their Passover with "Next year in Jerusalem."
In the darkest hours of the Russian pogroms Jews would pray for Jerusalem.
As they were led to the gas chambers in the Holocaust Jews would cry out for Jerusalem.
During the Six Day War when the first Jewish soldiers reached Jerusalem's Western Wall they bowed and wept in prayer. After so many centuries, they had at last returned to Jerusalem.
Jerusalem meant redemption. The end of exile. The return to their ancient homeland. Nationhood.
For far too long the Jewish people peered into an empty grave as proof of their existence. That ended with the resurrection of the Jewish State. The Return to Jerusalem meant salvation.
And when at long last the President of the United States gave his blessing to Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, the Jews illuminated the ancient walls of their city with American flags. They sang and danced in the streets, and blessed the Almighty.
And they gave special thanks to Donald J. Trump.
The emotional impact that this grand act has had on the People of Israel cannot be measured in words. It is unprecedented. A milestone that will place Donald Trump in the hearts of Jews the world over for decades to come.
President Trump promised to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. And he kept his promise. Despite the protests in the Arab world, the cynicism of our European allies, the pessimism of the State Department, and the misgivings of his own White House staff, Donald Trump said No to all of them, and a resounding Yes to the Jewish State, to the Jewish people.
Other nations will surely follow suit, as even the most timid among them may eventually move their embassies to Jerusalem. Donald Trump paved the way.
He is only the third president to offer such a magnanimous gesture to Israel.
Harry Truman did in 1948 when the U.S. became the first nation to recognize the new State of Israel.
Richard Nixon saved Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War with an unprecedented massive military airlift.
Both presidents suffered the opposition of allies and friends alike. Both were there for Israel when it mattered most.
And now Donald Trump has given the Jewish State the ultimate gift, during this the Season of Hanukkah.
There are many Americans who yearned to see this day.
This is for Mickey Marcus of Brooklyn, a World War II Army colonel who died liberating Jerusalem in Israel's War for Independence.
This is for Albert Einstein of Princeton, who wept when he was offered to be the first President of Israel, but couldn't bear to leave his beloved adopted American country.
This is for Golda Meir of Milwaukee, who steered Israel through its darkest hours and never forgot her American roots.
This is for Jonathan Netanyahu of Philadelphia, older brother of the prime inister, who gave his life rescuing his fellow Jews at Entebbe.
This is for Alisa Flatow of Brandeis, who reveled in her time in Israel, only to suffer a terrorist's bomb.
This is for every American who poured their hearts and souls into the Jewish State, and gave everything they had, including their lives, in defending it.
For them this day has arrived too late. But it has arrived nonetheless.
Soon the American flag will fly over the American Embassy in Jerusalem, the Eternal Capital of the Jewish State.
And it is entirely because of one man. Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States.
Tom Mountain, the 2016 MA/NH Trump Campaign Director for Jewish Outreach, was a resident of Jerusalem in the early 1980s.