Upon becoming foreign minister, Katz reportedly discovered that there were countries that wanted to transfer their embassies to Jerusalem but needed help.
By World Israel News Staff
The Israeli government is taking an unprecedented step in preparing an “official initiative to relocate and open foreign embassies in Jerusalem,” reports Israel Hayom.
The Israeli daily reported Sunday that Foreign Minister Yaakov Katz would soon present a plan to the Israeli cabinet that includes providing incentives “aimed at encouraging countries to move their embassies to the Israeli capital.”
Katz became foreign minister in February.
He says, according to the report, that upon entering the office, he discovered that there were countries which wanted to transfer their embassy to Jerusalem but needed help.
A new mood encouraging such a move was inspired by President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 and the subsequent transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv in May 2018 to the ire of the Palestinian Authority leadership.
However, only Guatemala has joined the Americans in relocating their embassy to the city, the paper notes.
Beyond showing friendship to Israel, some countries now wishing to move their embassy to Jerusalem wish to find favor with the Trump administration.
“Other countries have requested developmental and economic aid from Israel, while also hoping such a move would open doors in the United States and have even asked Israel to help pay for the relocation to Jerusalem,” says Israel Hayom.
“Honduras and El Salvador have agreed to open embassies in Jerusalem but want Israel to open full diplomatic missions in their respective capitals in return – a move which hasn’t been forthcoming on Israel’s part,” the newspaper reports.
Honduras has suffered from strained relations with Washington over the ongoing migrant crisis.
“In his upcoming presentation to the government,” says Israel Hayom, “Katz will propose giving countries willing to move their embassies to Jerusalem an aid package worth NIS 50 million (around $14.2 million). ”
“The funds would be earmarked to help finance the relocation or launch of a new embassy, or transfer the ambassador’s residence to Jerusalem; locate and designate suitable real estate; help the Jerusalem Municipality, local authorities, and [other] relevant bodies make the proper accommodations; and, provide cooperation and other aid to the relevant country in accordance with the circumstances,” says the newspaper report.