Locals discuss Jewish, Muslim impact of Jerusalem decision

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Santa Clarita locals of Jewish and Muslim faith are not going to let the international controversy surrounding President Donald Trump declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel interfere in their relationships.

Though Jewish people are thrilled with this decision, according to Rabbi Ron Hauss of Congregation Beth Shalom, he hopes it will not cause any tension with their Muslim counterparts.

“There’s a lot of shared issues Americans can come together on,” Hauss said. “On a working level, Jews and Muslims deal with more local issues.”

For Mahgiub El-Arabi, a trustee with Al-Umma Center of SCV, there is no animosity between Santa Clarita Valley Muslims and Jews.

“As Muslims, we don’t hold our brothers or sisters of the Jewish faith accountable for the actions of President Trump,” El-Arabi said. “They have not caused this to happen.”

While Hauss predicts the vast majority of local Jews will be in favor of the international decision, El-Arabi said he anticipates the opposite will be true in the Muslim community.

In fact, El-Arabi said he knows many Muslim people in the Santa Clarita Valley who have relatives who live in Israel and will experience the ramifications of the decision.

Though both men agree Jerusalem is a sacred city for their faiths, they disagreed on what this decision means in relation to history.

“There is no question in the Jewish community’s mind that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” Hauss said. “It’s just recognizing the reality that has long been a reality.”

Current peace is not at stake concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to the rabbi, because the two groups are not speaking as it is. The decision to make Jerusalem the capital will allow for negotiations to restart, he said.

“The fear is that it might scuttle the peace process, but there isn’t much of a peace process to scuttle,” he said.  

Trump’s decision was “ill-advised” and will only add to tensions in Israel, according to El-Arabi.

“President Trump and his advisors do not understand history,” he said. “If they did, they would have followed previous presidents’ example.”

Hauss assumes Dec. 6 will mark a turning point for the better while El-Arabi said it will be a reminder of a “sad” day.

“This will only harm future prospects of peace in that part of the world,” El-Arabi said.  

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