‘Finally a President that Has the Guts to Say the Truth’ about Jerusalem
CBN News Julie Stahl
JERUSALEM, Israel – After the visit of US Vice President Mike Pence to Israel this week, CBN News took to the streets of Jerusalem to ask Jewish and Arab city residents what they think about President Trump recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the prospects for peace.
We spoke to Jewish Israeli residents of Jerusalem at Mahane Yehuda, the city’s open air market, and asked what they thing about President Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
“I feel that he supports the State of Israel, not only by words, but by deeds,” said Jacob.
“Jerusalem has been our capital for many, many, many years, for centuries, and I think it’s about time that a president declared it and recognized it,” said Shir Lieberman, who holds dual Israel-American citizenship.
“Finally we have a president that has the guts to say the truth,” said Coral Dezone, her sister.
“I’m for it 100 percent. I’m a fan of the President Trump, definitely,” Ari Levy told CBN News.
Levy said tongue-in-cheek that Pence’s visit had “created a tremendous traffic in the city.’ But he thought the visit was ‘a positive step from the American administration.”
“[Pence] identifies so close with Israel, with our struggles, with our problems,” said Jacob. “We are very grateful for his understanding.”
“I think it was a very historical moment in our history. I believe he was the first vice president to be invited to speak at the Israeli Knesset,” said Shir, of Pence’s visit. “I think he did an amazing job. He was very respectful and I think it just made our ties with the United States of America even stronger.”
Do they think there can be peace between Israel and the Palestinians?
“I don’t know if the solution is within a two-state, you know, to have two different states but I do think there can be peace,” Shir said. “It just has to come from both sides.”
“[It’s] very difficult to envision it now because I’m not sure what the other side is planning for the future,” said Jacob. “I’m ready for the peace.”
We also spoke to Arab residents of Jerusalem near the Old City’s Damascus Gate.
“Mahmoud, What do you think about President Trump’s declaration about Jerusalem?” CBN News asked a lifetime resident of the city.
“Of course, he’s wrong,” said Mahmoud. “[It’s] not good for him to say that and to do that.”
“When President Trump declares this as the eternal capital of Israel he’s giving himself a license to rewrite history,” said Tawfik Shaar, who was born in Jerusalem but also lived for decades in the US.
Tawfik said he felt the visit of Pence just added ‘insult to injury. It just added more fuel to the fire.’
And what do they think about the possibility for peace?
“Of course, yes, we hope,” said Mahmoud.
“There’s always a possibility, but the problem here is that two people here have this small sliver of the Middle East – a piece of land not larger than the state of Illinois or something like that,” said Tawfik.
“We have to co-exist. It’s that simple, and President Trump’s decision did not make it any closer – on the contrary, he made it harder to attain,” Tawfik added.
Jason Tayeh was also born in Jerusalem but lived for many years in the US. “Well, Jerusalem, it’s for the whole world and I don’t see what’s wrong, but I could say one thing: God bless America,” he said as he gave a thumbs up and patted this reporter on the shoulder and left.