With 20,000 signatures, the UDF party and anti-BDS Lev HaOlam organization hope to convince Bern to recognize Israel’s “true” capital.

Members of Lev Olam submit the petition to the Swiss government (Video Credit: Lev HaOlam)

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A petition signed by approximately 20,000 people has been submitted to Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, encouraging the Swiss parliament to join other countries in moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The petition was organized by the Federal Democratic Union of Switzerland (UDF), a conservative Christian nationalist political movement, together with the Lev HaOlam organization. According to its website, Lev HaOlam “supports local Jewish business owners in Judea and Samaria” in the fight against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.

Hans Moser, the president of the UDF party, said in a recent speech that “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital since the establishment of the state in 1948. Nevertheless, Switzerland’s embassy, as well as the embassies of other countries, is located in Tel Aviv.” It is therefore only logical, he said, for the Swiss embassy to relocate to Israel’s true capital. Vice President of the UDF Roland Haldimann added that “the time has come” for Switzerland to embrace and “act” on its “friendly relations” with Israel.

Israeli and Swiss flags

Israeli and Swiss flags Photo Credit: EPA

The Swiss government, however, has openly criticized the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In response to US President Donald Trump’s embassy announcement, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that “Switzerland does not recognize the authority of Israel beyond the 1967 borders” and that it would “work towards the establishment of a viable, contiguous and sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital.”

Switzerland was hesitant to grant the State of Israel proper recognition in 1948 and has since maintained friendly but cautious relations with the Jewish state. In recent years, Switzerland has often voted in support of anti-Israel resolutions in the United Nations.