This week’s troubling ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court highlighted the fact that much of the world does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s. But when the American military’s Chief of Staff visited the Jewish state this week – in meetings that did much to show what friends the two nations are – Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin made sure to stress that the Holy City belongs to his country and people:
President Reuven Rivlin hosted U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey for a meeting at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Dempsey, set to retire in October, is visiting Israel for the final time as head of the U.S. military.
“We are proud to have you as a friend,” Rivlin told Dempsey. “We salute and appreciate you, and your friendship will be well remembered.”
Rivlin made a point of welcoming Dempsey to “Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel.” He was referring to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this week that struck down an existing but unenforced law that would have let American citizens born in Jerusalem have Israel listed as their country of birth in passports.
“I am a seventh-generation Jerusalemite, and even though I was born nine years before the State of Israel was established, I was born in Jerusalem and I am Israeli,” Rivlin said.
“Of course, we have no criticism of the decision of the Supreme Court in Washington. We salute the rule of law, and we appreciate and understand that they have decided not upon if Jerusalem is part of Israel or not, but who is going to decide upon those matters once it is a matter that goes between the Congress and the administration and the president.”
Dempsey thanked Rivlin for the warm reception and pledged that America’s “deep commitment” to its relationship with Israel would continue.