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Trump celebrates Hanukkah, Jerusalem at White House

AP  |  Washington 

President Donald Trump today celebrated an "especially special" Hanukkah at the White House, a day after declaring Israel's capital and setting off criticism and clashes.

"Right now I'm thinking about what's going on and the love that's all over and all about Jerusalem," Trump said in the East Room. The president was flanked by his daughter Ivanka, who converted to Judaism when she married her husband, Jared Kushner, and their three children.

The president broke with decades of US policy with the announcement, putting the United States at odds with most other countries.

The European Union, Germany, Britain, France, the Pope and key Arab allies have denounced the move.

But inside the yesterday, Trump got only applause, cheers and thanks from the crowd, which included Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Holocaust survivor Louise Lawrence-Israels and Orthodox Rabbi Meir Soloveichik.

Israels spoke of standing up to hate. And Soloveichik recited a traditional prayer that he said has additional meaning this year.

"For the first time since the founding of the state of Israel, an American president has courageously declared what we have always proclaimed, which is that is the capital of Israel," Soloveichik said.

Trump struggled with the pronunciation of Soloveichik's name. "He's so happy with yesterday, that he doesn't care if I get it exact," the president said.

He also remarked of the holiday, "I think this one will go down as especially special."

The Palestinians equally lay claim to and want the eastern part of the city as capital of a future state. In response to Trump's announcement, thousands of Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli forces in east and the West Bank and demonstrators in the Gaza Strip burned US flags and pictures of Trump.

The Old City in east is home to sites holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims, and its status is one of the most explosive issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Until Trump's decision, the US along with most other countries has maintained its embassy in Tel Aviv, saying the status of should be resolved between the sides in negotiations.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, December 08 2017. 16:10 IST