South Florida lawmakers largely praise Trump's move on Jerusalem

Muslim leaders in Miami warn decision will inflame tensions

By Tim Swift - Digital Editor

MIAMI - State officials largely cheered President Donald Trump decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The praise also came from South Florida Democrats in Congress, who rarely see eye-to-eye with the president.

"My longstanding view is that Jerusalem is and will remain the undivided capital of Israel, and it should remain a city accessible to people of all faiths," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Weston Democrat, said in a statement Wednesday.

"We must work toward a day where the entire world recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," she said.

Ted Deutch, a Democrat from Boca Raton, also issued statement along with Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

"There is no debate that the Jewish people have a deep-rooted religious, cultural and historic tie to Jerusalem, and today’s decision reaffirms that connection," Deutch and Ros-Lehtinen said in the statement.

Gov. Rick Scott, who currently is Israel for a trade mission, filmed a video message Wednesday in front of the Western Wall.

Endorsing the decision, Scott said that “the state of Florida stands with all the citizen of Israel.”

Other Florida Republicans offering support included Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Miami and Sen. Marco Rubio.

Most countries do not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The ancient city – the home of major Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites - has often been the center of Mideast tensions for decades.

Many allies warned that Trump's decision would negatively affect the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That view was echoed by Muslim activists in Miami.

"It just brings more division,” said Wilfredo Ruiz, the communications director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida.

“It alienates the U.S. that pretends to present themselves as mediators between the Palestinian and Israelis. It is of no benefit. It is calling for more unrest for potential violence," Ruiz said.

However, Jacob Solomon, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, said the move was long overdue.

“It’s the only country in the entire United Nations whose capital is not recognized by the world. That’s a little crazy," he said. "To say that we are not going to have peace because of this is kind of disingenuous.”

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