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Romney: 'Bigot' Shouldn't Pray at Jerusalem Embassy Opening

City soccer team names itself after Trump
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2018 5:24 AM CDT

(Newser) – One of Israel's biggest sports teams has given itself a new name in honor of the opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem—and the man who made it possible. Soccer club Beitar Jerusalem says it is now called Beitar Trump Jerusalem and the change will be permanent. "President Trump has shown courage, and true love of the Israeli people and their capital," the team said in a statement. The team, which is in second place in Israel's top soccer league, is notorious for anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment, according to the Times of Israel. In other developments:

  • Deadly violence: Israeli soldiers killed 16 protesters near the Gaza border and injured hundreds more ahead of the opening, say Palestinian health authorities, per the AP. That makes Monday the deadliest day of protests since they began six weeks ago, reports the Washington Post.
  • Mitt Romney speaks out. Romney said Sunday night that a Dallas minister shouldn't deliver the embassy's opening prayer because he is a "religious bigot," the AP reports. "Robert Jeffress says 'you can't be saved by being a Jew,' and 'Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.' He's said the same about Islam," Romney tweeted. In response, Jeffress said it isn't bigoted to teach that "salvation is through faith in Christ alone."

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  • "Great joy" for Ivanka. Ivanka Trump, who is in Jerusalem with Jared Kushner for the embassy opening, says she feels "great joy" to be back in the city, the Guardian reports. "We look forward to celebrating Israel’s 70th anniversary and the bright future ahead," she said in an Instagram post.
  • A long history. The New York Times looks at the challenges Israel and the Palestinians face—and at the Jerusalem grievances of both sides. "That’s what Jerusalem is all about,” says Tom Segev, author of a biography of David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister. "That’s why it’s been a problem the last 3,000 years. And it may be a problem for the next 3,000 years.”
  • What's actually opening. The embassy actually opening Monday will be a small interim embassy in the former Jerusalem consulate, the BBC reports. The opening date was moved up to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence. The rest of the embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem when a new building is finished, which could be up to 10 years from now.
  • Criticism of a "hostile" move. While many of Jerusalem's Jewish residents are celebrating the highly symbolic embassy move, a third of the city's residents are Palestinian and security forces are braced for unrest, the Washington Post reports. Palestinian leaders have called the move a "hostile" act that violates international law and damages the chances of a peace accord.
(Numerous European ambassadors are expected to skip Monday's gala celebration.)

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