MASON CITY | A Mason City interfaith coordinator who spent years working in the Middle East, said Wednesday the moving of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is political but not functional.
"It will satisfy the people in the United States who think it will bring on the second coming of Jesus Christ," said the Rev. Le Anne Clausen de Montes. "But it fails to recognize the complexity of the situation in Jerusalem."
President Donald Trump announced Tuesday he will move the embassy to Jerusalem, a move that de Montes said is largely symbolic but unnecessary.
De Montes, who grew up in Mason City, has spent many years in theological work and peace movements. From 2000 through 2004, she was with the Christian Peacemaker Middle East Council of Churches. After travels throughout the world, she is back in Mason City making plans to open a Children's Discovery Center, described as a kid-sized village for children to learn and play.
She said Trump's action doesn't serve any useful purpose. "A lot of people don't realize that the American Embassy already has a consulate in Jerusalem. So moving the embassy there is not a functional move — it won't make life easier there or bring about peace; it's just political," said de Montes.
Alan Steckman, president of the Adas Israel congregation in Mason City, said Thursday Jerusalem means many things to many people, a concept Trump does not understand.
"To have the president give it status as the capital of one country is a disservice to the country," said Steckman.
"This is not a simple matter," he said. "Jerusalem is divided into four parts — Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Armenian. It is truly a city that belongs to everybody.
"In a way, it reminds me of the Vatican which is not a capital city but is the universal capital of the Catholic church. Some cities are universal. Jerusalem is one of them."