Houstonians react to declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Houstonians voiced their opinions after President Donald Trump said he recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital and plans to move the U.S. embassy there from Tel-Aviv.

HOUSTON - The blue and white flag has been the symbol of the Jewish people and of Judaism since 1948.

The flag of the State of Israel sits proudly on the pulpit of Congregation Emanu El in Rice Village where Oren Hayon is the senior rabbi.

"The middle east always been a bit of a tinderbox," Rabbi Hayon said. "It isn’t going to change anything. It always has been and it will always be so. It’s a place where symbols are meaningful."

On Wednesday, Rabbi Hayon said he believed the recognition that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel is a symbolic move by President Donald Trump. He speculated about the eventual move of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"Will this be the door that opens into the new phase of the peace process?," Hayon said. "Will this open the door to new discussions about Palestinian self-determination? Israel's right to self-defense? About the future of two people living side by side?"

President Trump also said the embassy will eventually move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which generated more concern and even mean a terrorist attack on American soil.

"To move our embassy would be yet another signal that we're supporting the Israelis and it will cost us our honest broker reputation in the Middle East," said Richard Sindelar, assistant professor of international studies at University of Saint Thomas. "We'll be seen by most Palestinians and Israelis as just siding with Israel."

Sindelar also spent time with the state department in the middle east in the 1990s

"It upsets the peace process," Sindelar said. "It takes us off the table as an honest broker and probably in the short term means renewed violence but in the longer term, it undermines the peace process."

The Consul General of Israel said he believes this is ultimately good for the peace process. Rabbi Hayon said he plans to talk about the announcement at worship services Friday night.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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