President Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, breaking with decades of foreign policy and achieving what many other presidents did not, based on the belief that postponing the recognition of Jerusalem would advance peace negotiations.
“Today we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” said Trump from the White House. “This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.”
The decision also includes a plan to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem which has been a sensitive subject that many administrations have avoided because of the political and religious tensions in the region.
The president’s decision should not be seen as the United States taking a position over how the city should be shared with Palestinians, but it signals a new era of political and religious relief between the two allied nations. This is the fulfillment of a campaign promise which Christian supporters and the majority of Republicans embraced during the election.
While the mainstream media seems to focus on the possibility of unrest and violence in the Middle East, these concerns are clearly not holding people back from traveling. According to America Israel Tours, a tour company specializing in Christian tours to Israel, since Trump’s signal of a possible announcement, incoming calls and reservations have increased threefold. In the last two months, their “Christian Israel Tours” sold out the first quarter of next year. This is a new trend in travelers feeling more confident about traveling to the Holy Land last-minute instead of planning far in advance.
In 2016, an astounding 3,068,909 tourists visited Israel, with an overall increase of 3.6% compared to 2015. In 2017, the Israel Tourism Ministry has registered so far a 57% increase in tourist entries, with a record breaking 400,000 tourists this October alone, which is the best tourism month ever.
Consumer confidence has increased, U.S. stock markets are soaring and an improved economy are contributing factors to Israel’s successful tourism year. “We can only hope that Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel capital and next year’s 70th birthday celebration will make 2018 our best year ever,” said Noam Matas, General Manager of America Israel Tours. We cannot ignore the current circumstances in the region and hope that the peace talks will continue, but the prospect of visiting a country so full of culture, history and Biblical importance trumps all the danger and hate most of the media covers throughout the year.