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Survey: Most Diaspora leaders want US and all foreign embassies in Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers stand near the Western Wall at the al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site, but also the most sacred spot for Jews who refer to it as the Temple Mount on October 30, 2014
Gali Tibbon (AFP)
In the survey by Jewish People Policy Institute, most spoke of a feeling of being 'at home' in Jerusalem.

Most of Jewish leaders in the Diaspora support moving the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to a 2017 report based on survey and seminar data, compiled by the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI).

“Many Dialogue participants noted that they see Jerusalem as the spiritual capital of the Jewish people, with the Western Wall at its epicenter, and as a unifying point for Israeli Jews with Diaspora Jews,” explained JPPI’s president, Avinoam Bar-Yosef.

Bay-Yosef’s remarks were based on a number of findings conducted in this year’s annual Israel-Diaspora Dialogue conducted by JPPI. Each year, the dialogue includes a number of seminars focusing on a particular topic of Jewish concern.

In this year’s Dialogue, which concerned the status of Jerusalem and its future, the majority of participants expressed a strong opinion in favor of Jerusalem being the location of all of the foreign embassies in Israel.

Many participants also spoke of a feeling of being “at home” in Jerusalem, sufficient in their minds to warrant the opinions of Diaspora Jews being taken into account in decision-making over Jerusalem’s political and cultural future.

Most of the Diaspora leaders who were surveyed believe that Jerusalem is headed “in the wrong direction,” particularly regarding Jewish-Arab relations in the city as well as the status of Jewish pluralism in light of the increasing growth and political power of Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox community.

A number of Jerusalemites were also surveyed by the JPPI, and they, in contrast with their Diaspora brethren, felt that Israel’s capital is heading “in the right direction.” Nevertheless, Bar-Yosef feels that Israel’s leadership should not ignore the opinions of Jews in the Diaspora.

“Israeli leaders should be aware of the great importance Diaspora Jewry places on maintaining a pluralistic fabric of life in the city that allows all Jews to feel at home in Israel's capital,” he said.

Most Dialogue participants also expressed a wish for Jerusalem to maintain a “clear Jewish majority,” to “never be divided” and that the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif to Muslims, be under Israeli control.

At the same time, most in the Dialogue also believe that alongside a comprehensive peace agreement, "Israel should be prepared to compromise on the status of Jerusalem as a unified city under Israeli control."

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