Trump’s nominee for secretary of defense maintains that the capital of Israel is Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem – despite statements to the contrary by the president-elect and his team.
US President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of defense, James Mattis, stated that Israel’s capital is Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem.
“The capital of Israel that I go to, sir, is Tel Aviv, sir, because that’s where all the government people are. Right now I stick with the current US policy,” Mattis told Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina during his confirmation hearing on Thursday at the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Notwithstanding Mattis’ contention, the Knesset – Israel’s parliament – is located in Jerusalem, along with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Supreme Court and many other government offices.
When asked by Senator Graham whether he would support moving the US embassy from its current location in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Mattis said he would “defer to the nominee for Secretary of State.”
Mattis’ remarks are noteworthy in light of the decision by Trump’s transition team to go forward with the president-elect’s plan to move the US embassy to Jerusalem despite threats from Palestinian officials, including PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Mattis also stressed that Israel’s security was vital to US interests. “Israel is a fellow democracy, and I think Israel’s security is very, very important to the United States,” he said.