May 14, 2018, Updated May 17, 2018

Declaring “a historic day for our people and for our state,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed a US delegation to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on Sunday, ahead of this afternoon’s ceremonial move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“President Trump’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem affirms a great and simple truth: Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for the past 3,000 years. It’s been the capital of our state for the past 70 years. It will remain our capital for all time,” said Netanyahu, acknowledging US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s role in the process of moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

The Israeli and the American flags are screened on the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, on May 13, 2018, ahead of the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem tomorrow. Photo by Yontan Sindel/FLASH90

Among the officials in Israel for the momentous occasion are US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Israel adviser to President Trump Jason Greenblatt, and Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner.

About 170 journalists from the United States, United Kingdom and European Union been arriving over the past week alone to cover the ceremony, according to Israel’s Government Press Office.

Workers prepare the stage for the official opening ceremony of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on May 13, 2018. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90

A statement from US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert explained that the May date was chosen to coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary celebrations.

“The Embassy will initially be located in the Arnona neighborhood, in a modern building that now houses consular operations of US Consulate General Jerusalem,” she said.

“Consulate General Jerusalem will continue to operate as an independent mission with an unchanged mandate, from its historic Agron Road location. Initially, the interim Embassy in Arnona will contain office space for the Ambassador and a small staff. By the end of next year, we intend to open a new Embassy Jerusalem annex on the Arnona compound that will provide the Ambassador and his team with expanded interim office space.

“We are excited about taking this historic step,” Nauert concluded.


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