The Israeli ambassador to the U.S. is urging President-elect Donald Trump to move the U.S. embassy in Israeli from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem once he takes office next month.
According to reports, Israel’s top U.S. diplomat, Ron Dermer, made his comments during a Hanukkah party at the Israeli embassy in Washington Tuesday night, saying that the embassy move would be a “great step” toward achieving peace in the region.
“The reasons why the United States should move the embassy I think are pretty clear,” Dermer said, according to Politico.
“The first thing, it would send a strong message against the delegitimization of Israel and of Jerusalem,” he added. “The second reason why I think the embassy should be moved to our capital is that it would be a great step forward to peace. That’s right. A great step forward to peace.”
According to Politico, Dermer also cracked a joke or two, saying that the U.S. having their embassy in Tel Aviv instead of Israel’s declared capital — Jerusalem — would be like Israel having their American embassy in New York City rather than Washington.
Trump and his pick for U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, have pledged to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem once they assume control of the government next month, but it remains to be seen if they will follow through on their pledge.
Other past presidents, like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, have also made the pledge, but they never followed through with it.
Israel declared Jerusalem as its capital in the late 1940s after winning their independence, but the United Nations, along with most countries in the world, don’t recognize the holy city as the capital because the Palestinians also claim part of the city as their capital, though they do not have an established country.
Trump’s team has said that moving the American embassy to Jerusalem is a “big priority” for his administration.