JerusalemJerusalem, May 16th, 2019 – ECI has marked the 60th anniversary of EU-Israel diplomatic relations by attending the first anniversary of the US Embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In a statement on Thursday, ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell said that “it is now high time that the European Union recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.
There would be no Europe as it is today without the Jewish people. For over two thousand years Jewish communities across Europe have helped shape the continent to become the Europe that we live in today. During these same times Europe has been the most important continent for the Jewish people, where they have sometimes flourished as they built local communities, but at other times they have experienced severe persecution.”

It was in Basel, in 1897, that the vision for a Jewish state was first announced. It was in London in 1917 that the right of the Jewish people to a national home in Palestine was first recognized and later incorporated in to international law in Sanremo, Italy in 1920. Out of the four nations which signed the San Remo Resolution, three were Europeans: Britain, France and Italy.

“Given the long history of European-Jewish relations, the European Union should now mark these 60 years of diplomatic relations by officially recognizing Jerusalem as the rightful capital of the State of Israel”, Sandell said.

It was their constant prayer “next year in Jerusalem” which gave the Jewish people hope and kept their dreams alive as they suffered pogroms and discrimination in Europe through the centuries.

It is no coincidence that the name of the Jewish national movement for self-determination is called Zionism after their capital Jerusalem – Zion. No other people group have such strong bonds to their national capital as the Jewish people.

In a reception marking the first anniversary of the US Embassy move to Jerusalem on Tuesday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted that many people groups have lost their ancient homelands, just as the Jewish people did in AD 70. “But contrary to all other ethnic groups, the Jews never gave up their aspirations to one day return to Jerusalem. Unlike other people groups, they never conquered any other territory in order to make it their national home. When the Jewish people today are back in Jerusalem, with the same religion and the same language as 3000 years ago, it is unprecedented in human history and nothing short of a miracle”, he said.

During his four day visit to Jerusalem, Sandell attended the official reception to mark the first anniversary of the US Embassy move to Jerusalem on Tuesday night, hosted by the Friends of Zion Museum, and a one-day conference near to the Kotel (Western Wall) on Wednesday, hosted by the Latino Coalition for Israel.

On Thursday Sandell had a meeting with Israeli government officials in the Prime Minister´s Office in Jerusalem and on Friday he is scheduled to meet with the EU Ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret.