“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” President Donald Trump said in a statement from the White House Diplomatic Reception room today, Dec. 6.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) December 6, 2017
With this, the U.S. Embassy will be moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—a pretty big deal. The extreme nature of this decision is believed to isolate the United States regarding a delicate diplomatic topic. Consequently, warnings of violent protests and potential threats have emerged.
A Little Background
Ever since capturing east Jerusalem in 1967 during the Six Day War, Israel identifies Jerusalem as its capital. Yet the international community maintains that the territory should be left open, and resolved through peaceful discussions and agreements. The ambiguity is largely due to the land’s strong religious significance to Jews, Muslims and Christians. So in order to avoid conflict, countries have kept their embassies in Tel Aviv. Until now.
The World Responds
Arab and European leaders are very concerned and criticism has accumulated globally. Pope Francis expressed fear about the potential violence that this declaration spurs, not only in Israel, but across the region.
On Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told USA Today, “Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel does not calm a conflict; rather it fuels it even more. It’s in everyone’s interest that this does not happen.”
Protestors have already taken to the streets in the Gaza Strip. With protestors demonstrating outrage through chants and burnings of the American and Israeli flags.
— RT (@RT_com) December 6, 2017
The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem published a security message for U.S. citizens yesterday. In the statement, the Consulate warns:
“We recommend that U.S. citizens take into consideration these restrictions and the additional guidance contained in the Department of State’s travel warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza when making decisions regarding their travel.”
Demonstrators at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul protest President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. pic.twitter.com/9GC2qq4Xc4
— AJ+ (@ajplus) December 6, 2017
Planning in Israel?
What does this mean for planner who have already booked an event in Israel for the upcoming months or frequently hold events in Israel? One of the first moves should be reaching out to attendees.
Natalie Abraham, an event planner in Israel, told Smart Meetings, “The current headline is a very big deal, so I would definitely reach out to attendees if you’re planning an event in Jerusalem in the coming days, only to make sure they are up to date with the news. This is part of our responsibility.”
On potentially relocating the event, Abraham advises, “I personally wouldn’t relocate my event in Jerusalem; I would just add security to my vendor’s team, from the buses to the venues. I would avoid touring in Jerusalem, but only for the coming weeks. It’s still a little early to understand the reality of what will happen next and only time will tell how long any expected violence will last.”
During this time of uncertainty the best thing to do is stay updated. Here are essential resources to make that easy.
U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv
U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
U.S. Department of State—Bureau of Consular Affairs
Israel Ministry of Tourism
New York – 1-646-779-6766 Info-NY@goisrael.gov.il
Los Angeles – 1-323-658-7463 firstname.lastname@example.org
Atlanta – 1-404-541-2770 Atlanta@goisrael.gov.il
Chicago – 1-312-803-7078 email@example.com
Canada – 1-416-964-3784 firstname.lastname@example.org
Natalie Abraham is a UK-born wedding and event planner in Israel, where her event company, Dreamcatcher, operates. Abraham is considered one of the best wedding/bar mitzvah/bat mitzvah planners in the country.