The story of Hanukkah, a holiday which we celebrate this week, was a story of the liberation of Jerusalem. For eight days, the candle remained lit at the Temple, a symbol of the eternal link between the Jewish nation and its ancient capital.
Earlier this year, in the crisis over the installment of security measures on the Temple Mount, it became quite apparent that there was a new political reality in the air. Unlike previous crises, there was no massive outbreak of violence. Muslims protested the installment of the new measures, but did so relatively peacefully. The only main violence seemed to be the incident with Jordan, unresolved to this day, when an embassy security guard shot two Jordanians dead after an attempted stabbing.
Fast forward today. Again, there are demonstrations, but no massive violence like what was feared. In reports in the Hebrew media, many Palestinians were not interested this time to send their children to confront Israeli forces. The Arab World screams and shouts, but again, with the exception of Jordan’s King Abdullah, who met with Turkey’s Erdogan in a rushed bid to show through their press conference that the declaration was significant and would deteriorate stability in the region, little was done. Even if more meetings now take place in various forums, it will not change the fact that Jerusalem is again becoming the public capital of the State of Israel.
According to the Montevideo Convention of 1933 a state is defined using four criteria: Land, Government, People and Capacity to enter into relations with other states. While Israel met most of these criteria, it had an interesting anomily: it was the only country where no other state recognized its base of government. While most government institutions are based in Jerusalem, countries kept their embassies in Tel Aviv. As such, a tradition was formed that most countries visit Jerusalem unofficially, but officially at the same time, to perform state functions.
However, times are changing. Earlier this year, Russia became the first country to recognize West Jerusalem as capital of Israel but delayed moving their embassy. Following the Trump Declaration, now numerous other countries have followed, including Phillipines and Czech Republic. Already two superpowers and several normal states in effect recognize our capital city. Likely, this will be a trend that will continue regardless of the peace process with the Palestinians.
Perhaps it shouldn’t be Trump, but rather David Ben Gurion, the founding father, that the world should be angry towards. He declared in 1949 as he moved the seat of government from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem the following words: “[for] the State of Israel there has always been and always will be one capital only – Jerusalem the Eternal. Thus it was 3,000 years ago – and thus it will be, we believe, until the end of time”.
After 70 years of a double game, Jerusalem as capital of Israel is a fait accompli. In doing so, Trump publicly removed the last road block that would stop making Israel as an anomaly among nations. Regardless of the verbal rage around the world, for the first time since the era of Hanukkah, Jerusalem is here to stay as our capital.