Rex Tillerson
Rex TillersonReuters

"We’re shocked at Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s remark to reporters during their Air Force One flight from Riyadh to Israel," the Zionist Organization of America announced today.

The secretary of state has been "perhaps the most hostile Trump cabinet member to the Jewish state," says the Conservative Review, adding that his lack of previous government experience has been "a detriment to the Trump administration’s foreign policy."

The ZOA, the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States, took great offense that Tillerson said he was on his way to "Tel Aviv, home of Judaism," and that he would not acknowledge that the Western Wall is in Israel.

While Tel Aviv is a major center of Israel’s high tech sector and perhaps even its "modern cultural capital," the ZOA emphasizes that it is unquestionably Jerusalem that is the "center of Judaism – the Jewish religion and heart and soul of the Jewish people – the place of our dreams and prayers and songs and the center of our history." Jerusalem, of course, is where Jewish kings reigned for hundreds of years, the site of both Jewish Temples, and the object of Jewish prayers all over the globe ever since the destruction of the second Temple 1,950 years ago.

Former Israeli Consul-General (Ambassadorial level) Yoram Ettinger wrote on Friday that, despite President Trump's positions, Tillerson and his State Department "still cling to political correctness ‎on U.S.-Israel and U.S.-Arab relations, the Palestinian issue and the relocation ‎of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem."

During Trump's visit to Israel, the White House captioned a live video feed of him speaking with Prime Minister Netanyahu as being broadcast from “Jerusalem, Israel” – clearly denoting that Israel is sovereign over the holy city.

Tillerson, however, "assumes that enhanced U.S.-Israel relations undermine U.S.-‎Arab relations," according to Ettinger, whereas, in fact, "U.S.-‎Israel geostrategic cooperation has surged dramatically, simultaneously ‎with expanded U.S.-Arab security cooperation."

An expert on Israel-U.S. relations, Ettinger says that Tillerson's positions, such as his perceived opposition to moving the U.S. Embassy to ‎western Jerusalem - actually help to radicalize the Arabs and frustrate peace efforts. ‎This position, Ettinger writes, not only "contradicts the position of the American people and their ‎representatives in the House and Senate," but also "falls into line with the 69-year-old State Department view that there is no legitimacy to ‎Israel's sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem. It radicalizes the Arabs, ‎forcing them to outflank the U.S. from the maximalist side, deluding ‎themselves that they have nothing to lose and that time is on their ‎side."