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DJ: We haven’t talked about moving the embassy. That’s very important in two ways — one is, will this happen, and if it does happen how will Israel acknowledge this, is there something Israel can offer as a gesture? But also I want to ask about relations with the UK — would you like the British to follow suit after Brexit if Trump does decide to move the embassy? You mentioned Brexit and this reassertion of the nation state is very important because Israel is a nation state, and Europe, as you say, is a kind of utopian post-national organisation.

TH: But not any more.

DJ: Not any more. And the British clearly feel much more comfortable, like you, with the nation state. Do you think there is a chance that not only the US but Britain too will make this move?

TH: First of all it’s one of the most important issues for Israel — the international standing of Jerusalem — because for us Jerusalem is the Zionist story itself. The very simple meaning of the word Zion is Jerusalem. It’s the biblical name for Jerusalem. And you can’t speak about Israel’s identity without Jerusalem, you can’t speak about Israel’s history without Jerusalem, this is why it’s so fundamental and so important. And I think Trump is serious about it, I think the Israeli Prime Minister is serious about welcoming this very important historic move, and I think history plays a part too because this is the 50th anniversary of freeing Jerusalem and Jerusalem being united, and nothing can be more symbolic than that. Of course I think all the countries should follow. If you ask me about Britain, absolutely. It’s very embarrassing for me to get cards from ambassadors that have “Tel Aviv” written on them — you know, if I’m the ambassador to Britain, like writing Manchester or Liverpool. It’s ridiculous, you’re not going to do it in any other country, you can’t write Cannes when you’re in France, you can’t write LA when you’re in America.

DJ: This is true. But Jerusalem has a special significance for other faiths as well and this is where it’s a problem.

TH: Yes, but I want to tell you something about the way we see it. The only way to make sure that all religions will feel comfortable in Jerusalem — and this is historically proven — is with Israel’s sovereignty. You lose Israeli sovereignty, you have a mess, and you also have shootings from the houses of Gilo [in East Jerusalem] as we had ten years ago. It was horrible. Whenever we lose control on the east side of Jerusalem you have shootings at the houses on the west side of Jerusalem. This is something that can’t happen. I would say one thing that my Prime Minister stands behind. I will never allow any international force to defend my people because this is why the Jewish state was established. If we want, of course we can have allies or people that will cooperate with us but our defence should be only in the hands of a Jewish army.

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