U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem 'Will Come at a Price,' Israeli Defense Chief Says

Avigdor Lieberman says 'historic, important and dramatic' decision to move U.S. embassy to Jerusalem will have a price that is 'worth paying'

The US Embassy building in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv.
JACK GUEZ/AFP

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Saturday that relocating the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem "will come at a price," but added that it was a price "worth paying."

Speaking on Meet the Press on Israel Television News Company, Lieberman called the opening the embassy in Jerusalem a "historic, important and dramatic" decision.

"Nothing comes for free," the defense chief said, "and the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem will come at a price and it is worth paying it. We should be prepared to pay a price."

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U.S. President Donald Trump said last month that he still "may go" to the ceremony in Jerusalem celebrating the opening of the American embassy, and bragged about saving money by rejecting an initial proposal to devote $1 billion for the construction of a new embassy, and replacing it with a significantly more moderate plan costing close to $400,000 instead.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman arrives to attend a ceremony, in Nabi Samuel, in the West Bank, May 1, 2018.
\ RONEN ZVULUN/ REUTERS

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, both advisers to the president, are expected to represent the U.S. administration at the opening ceremony, Israeli officials confirmed last month. The official said American senators and members of the House of Representatives will attend, too. 

The embassy will initially be located in a facility in Jerusalem's Arnona neighborhood that handles consular affairs, such as passports and visas. At first, the embassy will only accommodate U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and a small team of staff. The site of a future permanent embassy has yet to be found, according to the State Department.