'U.S. Embassy' Road Signs Go Up in Jerusalem Ahead of Next Week's Opening

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Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat poses with the new road signs leading to the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, May 7, 2018.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat poses with the new road signs leading to the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, May 7, 2018.Credit: Screenshot / Nir Barkat's Facebook Page

At least three "U.S. Embassy" road signs went up in Jerusalem on Monday ahead of next week's opening of the mission in the city, a Reuters witness said.

The signs, in English, Hebrew and Arabic, were installed by workmen close to the south Jerusalem location of a U.S. consulate building that will be repurposed as the embassy when it is officially relocated on May 14 from Tel Aviv.

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"This is not a dream - it's reality! This morning, I am proud and excited to install the first signs for the U.S. embassy, which will open next week in Jerusalem," Mayor Nir Barkat posted on Facebook, adding "I thank President Trump for making this historic moment come to fruition."

A worker holds a road sign directing to the U.S. embassy, in the area of the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, May 7, 2018. Credit: \ RONEN ZVULUN/ REUTERS

Street signs in Israel have sometimes fallen victim to political vandalism, with Jews erasing Arabic or Arabs the Hebrew. An Israeli police spokesman played down such prospects for the U.S. embassy signs.

"We're not guarding the embassy signs but of course there is upgraded security around the embassy which is already being implemented," he said. "There are also new CCTV cameras that have been set up in the area. The perimeter and all movement in the area are being closely watched." 

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

"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."

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.

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. 

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