This Island Nation, Led by an Evangelical Christian, Just Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

June 4, 2017

< 1 min read

The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu became the latest country to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Israel Hayom reported Thursday.

Vanuatu’s decision follows UNESCO’s vote last month to deny Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. Later in May, the Czech Parliament approved a resolution recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and condemning recent anti-Israel measures passed by UNESCO. In addition to May’s resolution, the United Nations cultural body last year passed two resolutions denying the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.

During a recent meeting between Vanuatu’s President Baldwin Lonsdale and the nation’s honorary consul to Israel, the issue of UNESCO came up. Lonsdale, an evangelical Christian with a strong connection to Israel, who has a strong connection to the Jewish people and to Israel, later signed a document stating Jerusalem should be recognized as Israel’s capital and blasting UNESCO’s early-May vote.

Vanuatu is an 83-island archipelago situated between Australia and Fiji, with a population of about 300,000. Tibor Shalev Schlosser serves as Israel’s ambassador to Vanuatu and to other Pacific island nations, and Vanuatu has an honorary consulate in Israel.

In April, the Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement recognizing western Jerusalem—but not the entire city—as Israel’s capital.

Official U.S. policy, meanwhile, does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Trump administration this week signed a waiver to keep the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, avoiding a move to the holy city for six months and mirroring the actions of every American president since Congress authorized the embassy relocation in 1995.

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