America’s Ambassador to Israel David Friedman hosted a special event in Jerusalem on Tuesday night to mark the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Embassy move to the capital, describing it as a “new shrine.”
“We have done something that hasn’t been done in quite some time: We have created a new shrine in the ancient city of Jerusalem, and we’re extremely proud of it,” the ambassador told the audience at the David Citadel Hotel ballroom, located near the Old City. He also revealed that the Embassy site would double in size in the near future.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in attendance at the gala event, praised President Donald Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and for moving the U.S. Embassy.
He also thanked the president for closing the “Palestinian consulate” in Jerusalem. The U.S. shuttered its Jerusalem consulate, which acted as a diplomatic mission to the Palestinians, in March.
“We have to keep on strengthening the State of Israel and keep on strengthening the indispensable alliance with America,” the prime minister said, also referring to “a new efflorescence, a new renaissance of relations” between Israel and her Arab neighbors.
Prayers offered at site
Ambassador Friedman said that people are impressed by the new Embassy. “People get out of the bus and people just stare and they look at the beautiful plaque and the seal — that magnificent seal made out of marble weighs about 2-3,000 pounds — and sometimes I just get out of my office and I walk up to them.”
“People got on their knees and they prayed to God that they have seen this day, that this day had arose,” he said. “There were people in tears, there were people in deep moments of prayer. The reactions were frankly stunning and moving. And I can’t get enough of that. It’s extraordinary.”
President Trump also marked the one-year anniversary, tweeting on Tuesday:
“Today marks the one-year anniversary of the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel. Our beautiful embassy stands as a proud reminder of our strong relationship with Israel and of the importance of keeping a promise and standing for the truth.”