(JNS.org) Ahead of President Donald Trump's visit to Israel, the head of a leading Christian Zionist organization called on the president to fulfill his election campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Pastor John Hagee, head of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), noted in a letter published in the Washington Times that Trump will soon need to decide whether to postpone the embassy's transfer to Jerusalem by at least half a year.
In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which calls on the U.S. to move the embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel’s capital. But every sitting president since then has opted to sign successive six-month waivers delaying the move. Most recently, former President Barack Obama signed the waiver in December. Trump has a June 1 deadline to choose between another waiver or an embassy move.
"Throughout his campaign, Mr. Trump promised to move the embassy. This promise was vital to securing the support of millions of Christian Zionists around the country," Hagee wrote.
"Like [former President Harry] Truman, Mr. Trump must contend with well-entrenched anti-Israel bureaucrats at the State Department who will try to use their positions to make moving the embassy difficult. But the buck does not stop with bureaucrats," he wrote.
Hagee added, "The Jewish state has the right to determine where it would place its capital, and it has chosen Jerusalem. The international community's decision to cower before Israel's enemies by keeping embassies in Tel Aviv is disgraceful."
CUFI describes itself as America's largest pro-Israel organization with more than 3.3 million members, defining members as email list subscribers whose addresses do not produce bounce-backs when messaged.
In recent days, U.S. officials have emphasized to their Israeli counterparts that Trump remains committed to relocating the embassy by the end of his first term, even if he decides next month to extend the presidential order freezing the implementation of the move.