JERUSALEM, Israel – This week the Trump administration made history by moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. That decision is opening the door for other nations to follow.On December 25, 2017, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced his country would move its embassy to Jerusalem. Today it becomes the second nation after the United States to do so officially. CBN News got the first interview with the president in Israel.
"Guatemala has been a very blessed nation and I believe we have had an excellent relationship with the people of Israel since the foundation of the State of Israel, with the Guatemalan President Arevelo, Morales told CBN News. "And since then we've had excellent relations, and we have to strengthen that relationship, and I believe we'll be receiving a blessing for both peoples by doing the right thing."
At the opening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wlecomed Guatemala's president and cited the historic relationship between Isael and Guatemala.
"There's a Guatemala street in many cities and many communities in Israel because we remember our friends and Guatemala is our friend," Netanyahu said.
Guatemala began flying its flag at the embassy's location in Jerusalem's Technological Park before its official opening Wednesday.
Jerusalem's Technological Park, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff
Sarah Angelina Solis is Guatemala's ambassador to Israel. She called the move an "historic" decision.
"And it's a very brave decision. It's an historic decision and we are happy about this – and as the president has said – it's the correct decision for Guatemala, for Israel and for all the world."
The ambassador added that her country's history played a part in the decision.
"Guatemala was also the first country in the world to establish an embassy in Jerusalem in 1956 – the first country in the world. So now we add another milestone to this history, which is the return of the embassy to Jerusalem," she said.
She explained that Guatemala also followed the US at another critical time for Israel. "In 1948, it joined the US in recognizing the Jewish state after then-President Harry Truman did so, following David Ben Gurion's declaration of Israel's independence.
"There are very few countries that have this kind of history so we are very close to the State of Israel and we have created a unique friendship," Solis said.
Israeli leaders, including former US Ambassador Michael Oren, see the US and Guatemala as just the beginning.
"We've had intimations from the Czech Republic, from Hungary, from some Latin American countries as well," Oren told CBN News. "We'll be eagerly awaiting them and there are very nice places available in Jerusalem."
Jurgen Buhler, director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem also believes more nations will make the move.
"This is not the end of a process; I believe that this is actually the beginning of a process," Buhler said. "What the US administration – and President Trump – was doing, I think, was he was in a way shooting the starting shot for the race and I believe there will be many other nations that will follow the United States."
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat helped facilitate the move of the Guatemalan Embassy.
"They're very cheerful, happy and good people and I'm very proud of our partners in Guatemala," Barkat said. "So that will be the second embassy moving."
"I was amazed by the innumerable amount congratulatory messages that the embassy received, not only from Israel but from all over the world, in many languages: from Africa, from Europe, from Latin America saying congratulations Guatemala, we support you. And they were saying; our country should do the same. Our president should take that decision," said Solis
That's where Guatemala comes in. It has one of the highest percentages of evangelical Christians of any nation. That's one reason its embassy is moving to Jerusalem.
"People in Guatemala pray for the peace in this region, pray for Jerusalem and they are excited," she continued. "They call me, it's an honor, it's good that it was during your term. I feel privileged. I feel moved. I feel this is a gift from God. I know that a lot of blessings will come after this decision. This is a promise in the Bible, in Genesis, and I don't think, I'm sure many blessings will come for Guatemala."
This year marks 70 years since the reestablishment of Israel as a modern nation.
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