During his historic trip to Jerusalem, President Donald Trump prayed at the Western Wall in the Old City.
“On my first trip overseas as president, I have come to the sacred and ancient land to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and the state of Israel,” Trump said Monday during a speech delivered on the tarmac of Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport upon his arrival to Israel.
“I have come to the sacred and ancient land to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and the state of Israel.”
Trump is the first sitting U.S. president to visit this holy Western Wall site. He chose to visit the site on his own — unaccompanied by any Israeli government officials — presumably so that it would not be a political statement, but a religious moment.
“We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region and to its people, defeating terrorism and creating a future of harmony, prosperity and peace,” Trump said Monday. “But we can only get there working together.”
The president and first lady Melania Trump visited the Church of the Sepulchre (a significant landmark in the Christian faith) before heading to the Western Wall along with others in their party.
Due to Orthodox Jewish tradition, the men and women in Trump’s party were separated by gender to pray and worship at the Western Wall.
Trump went up to the wall by himself — with the traditional yarmulke on his head — and placed his hand on the wall during a moment of prayer and reflection.
This site is the holiest place in Judaism where Jews are allowed to pray. The Western Wall is a remnant of the Temple Mount (a place central to Jewish worship).
Over the weekend Trump visited Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and spoke to leaders of Muslim nations.
“[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, as well as Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and members of the Israeli cabinet, were at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport to greet Trump and first lady Melania in a red-carpet ceremony after a direct flight from Riyadh,” Reuters reported.
Trump will be meeting with Netanyahu on Monday.
“They will also discuss ways to advance a genuine and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement earlier this month.