Messianic Jewish Perspectives on US Recognition of Jerusalem
This week, global news was dominated by President Trump’s announcement that the United States would officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. What followed was a wave of analysis in the news media, and similar statements of recognition by the governments of the Philippines and the Czech Republic.
As a former public international lawyer myself, I have had a few breathless moments as I witness this moment in history unfold. Imagine! The stroke of a single politician’s pen can cause momentous shifts in reality on the other side of the globe. My familiarity with the legal mechanisms that enable this do not dampen my sense of wonder.
In order to better understand the short-term and long-term implications of this decision, I reached out to several Union-affiliated leaders who live in Israel, and asked them to share their perspectives. Overall, our friends and partners in Israel welcome this decision.
“It’s simply a recognition of reality,” shared one Union rabbi who lives in Israel. “For all intents and purposes, Jerusalem is the capital; the entire Israeli government sits there.” Another Union rabbi in Israel was even more enthusiastic: “I think it is a very important decision and is supported by the overwhelming percent of the population here.”
Union Rabbi David Friedman shared his perspective with a journalist from Christianity Today: “I am true to what I see the Torah teaching on this subject matter … Jerusalem is part of the covenantal land inheritance granted in God’s mercy to the descendants of Jacob, and God’s covenants are eternally valid.”
While many Union leaders are receptive to this development, others have shared their concerns for the timing and security implications. These are not hypothetical matters, as many have children and grandchildren actively serving in the Israeli Defense Forces.
Boaz Michael, who leads a Messianic Jewish learning center in central Jerusalem, blogged about his concern “over the practical ramifications on our soldiers, citizens, and the Palestinian people. We just received a notice from Israeli authorities warning us of the possibility of a large-scale terrorist attack on Friday in reprisal for the American announcement.”
A few American rabbis in the Union have echoed this concern. Rabbi Stuart Dauermann reflected: “[T]here is such a thing as timing. Making even a right decision at a wrong time can be a disaster.” Rabbi Dan Juster, a co-founder of the Union, disagrees. “Right now the Sunni Arab world in good part is very concerned about Iran and much less about Israel … I think the timing is very good.”
It is tempting in situations like this to make sweeping and certain predictions. The reality is that God does not give us a crystal ball. As Messianic Jews, we place our trust in the eternal promises that God has made to the Jewish people, keeping in mind that God tends to fulfill His promises in surprising and unexpected ways. Yeshua himself is evidence of this. Who would have predicted that the promised Messiah of Israel would show up as an itinerant Galilean storyteller who spent three years patching up the poor and disabled people of Israel and never picked up a sword?
Would you join the Union as we intensify our ongoing prayers for Israel? We especially urge prayer for the soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces, as well as for the citizens and residents of Israel, both Jewish and Arab.