LAWRENCE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Celebration mixed with bloodshed in Israel on Monday. The opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem reversed decades of American policy.
CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff was at a school on Long Island where the embassy ceremony was streamed live to students, who got a historic lesson.
Living history, Yeshiva students in Lawrence gathered to watch the opening of the embassy, a move from Tel Aviv that was seen as a long overdue recognition of reality.
“Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital,” President Donald Trump said.
Students at Rambam Mesivta High School had varying opinions.
“This is something we have been waiting for for many years. This is essential to the Jewish people,” 12th grader Yitzchak Lisker said.
“It’s an important step to recognize Israel’s fundamental right that has been denied to them all these years,” 10th grader Avi Koenig added.
Educators at Rambam Mesivta made Monday’s news a teaching moment. And while the mood was tempered by the escalating death toll at the Gaza border, there’s hope that Palestinian fury over the embassy’s move will turn to compromise.
“If anything, this brings peace closer. The fantasy of annihilating Israel is beginning to wane,” Rabbi Yotav Eliach, the principal of Rambam Mesivta High School, said. “No, you’re not going to erase the state of Israel. The Jewish people are a nation and this is their nation state and this is their capital.”
“Rather than fighting it and sacrificing their own citizens as they are doing right now, build hospitals instead of tunnels. Build social welfare and schools instead of provoking violence,” Rabbi Zev Friedman added.
But Muslim neighbors on Long Island called Monday a sad day that has provoked violence.
“I am a human being, not Muslim. We are American human beings,” one person said.
“I believe all should share that part of the world,” another said.
The New York-based Muslim Peace Coalition called the embassy move illegal, ill advised and predicted increased terrorism as a result.
“It’s a sad time for people who love peace and should concern everyone because it will enflame passions,” Dr. Shaik Ubaid said.
The Jewish community is also divided on the wisdom of the embassy move. As the administration reiterated its commitment to the peace process on Monday, which is also Israel’s 70th birthday, celebration was clouded by bloodshed and uncertainty, CBS2’s Gusoff reported.
The embassy is located in a Jewish residential neighborhood, between East and West Jerusalem.