Moldova’s government announced on Tuesday that it will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, JTA reports.
The announcement followed fallout from a constitutional crisis and power struggle that ended last week with a constitutional court’s suspension of the country’s elected president, Igor Dodon.
The statement tied the decision, which would make Moldova the only European country with its embassy in Jerusalem, to internal unrest and the sale of the land for the construction of a new American embassy in Chisinau, the Moldovan capital.
“We are in the situation to urgently adopt these decisions taking into account the political instability and uncertainty in the country, but also the latest political developments whereas one of the political parties that constantly blocked these two projects is attempting an illegal takeover of power,” the government under its acting prime minister, Pavel Filip, wrote in the statement.
“These are two commitments that we have previously undertaken and we want to make sure they will be respected, regardless of what happens after the snap elections,” the statement added.
The World Jewish Congress welcomed Moldova’s decision to relocate its embassy in Israel.
“The Government of Moldova has taken a welcome step today in affirming its faith in the State of Israel and demonstrating their strong bilateral relations in publicly recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s rightful capital,” said WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer.
“I was very pleased to learn of this development from Moldova’s ambassador to the United States this morning, and hope this will set a positive example for all of Israel’s friends considering such a move. It is also a positive gesture to the many Jews of Moldovan descent who now live in Israel, and who continue to feel an attachment to the country that once was their home, as it was for many members of my own family. These are relations that extend beyond just governments, and into the public and personal realm,” he added.
“Moldova has proven time and again in recent years to be a true friend of the State of Israel, as well as a leader in the fight against antisemitism worldwide. Its decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem follows other important steps of good faith, including its prioritization of protecting its Jewish community, as demonstrated by its recent adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, and its efforts to preserve Holocaust memory,” Singer said. “On my visit to Moldova a few months ago, I was grateful to conduct excellent and constructive meetings with the local and national leadership from the various parties, and to become acquainted with different walks of life in the country. We are proud to have Moldova as a friend,” said Singer.
In December of 2018, Dodon said his country would “very seriously consider” moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
US President Donald Trump in 2017 recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and later relocated the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Following Trump’s announcement, Guatemala also relocated its embassy to Jerusalem. Paraguay moved its embassy to Jerusalem as well, but Paraguayan President Mario Abdo later reversed the previous administration’s decision and said his country’s embassy would move back to Tel Aviv.
Romania and Honduras both recently announced plans to relocate their countries’ embassies in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, while Hungary opened a new trade office in western Jerusalem in March.
Last month, nearly one-fifth of Ukraine parliament members co-signed a draft resolution urging their new president to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the embassy there.