U.S. State Department confirms May opening of Jerusalem embassy

US Consulate in Arnona, Jerusalem

The U.S. State Department officially confirmed that America will relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May to coincide with Israel’s 70th Independence Day on May 14.

“The Embassy will initially be located in Arnona, on a compound that currently houses the consular operations of Consulate General Jerusalem, at least initially,” a State Department official told the Jerusalem Post in an article published Feb. 23. “It will consist of the Ambassador and a small team.”

Arnona is a neighborhood in south Jerusalem.

Israel relies on the Hebrew lunar calendar to mark its holidays. May 14, 1948, corresponds to the fifth day of the Jewish month of Iyar in the year 5708. This spring, the fifth day of Iyar aligns with April 18. The Los Angeles Times reported that Daniel Shapiro, former U.S. ambassador to Israel, “lamented” that the State Department failed to take the calendar differences into consideration.

Palestinians, however, noted the difference. They mark their national days according to the Gregorian calendar and observe Nakba Day, their “day of catastrophe,” on May 15, purposely one day after the Gregorian calendar date for Israel’s independence.

“They [the U.S. State Department] deliberately chose a tragic day in Palestinian history, the Nakba, as an act of gratuitous cruelty adding insult to injury,” Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official, reportedly tweeted.