Trump Becomes First Sitting American President To Visit Jerusalem's Western Wall

Fifty years after Israel captured the Western Wall, US President Donald Trump on Monday became the first sitting American leader to visit the holy site, in a historic visit that saw him accompanied by his Jewish relatives in Jerusalem’s ancient Old City.
Entering the Old City’s warren of alleyways on Monday — on lockdown by police for his visit — Trump and his wife Melania met the heads of various Christian denominations and began their tour at one of the holiest sites in Christianity, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed by Christians to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
The US president was greeted outside the ancient church by the Armenian and Greek Orthodox patriarchs of Jerusalem. After briefly stopping to be photographed, he entered the building, along with his son-in-law and daughter, Jared Kushner, who is with Jewish ancestry and Ivanka Trump. The US president later read a chapter of Psalms along with the rabbis.
The Western Wall, part of the retaining walls of the Second Temple compound, is the closest point of prayer for Jews to the site of the Temple itself and thus the Jewish people’s holiest place of prayer. It was captured along with the rest of the Old City and East Jerusalem in the 1967 war and annexed by Israel as part of its united capital — a move not recognized internationally.
Monday’s visit comes two days before the 50th anniversary of Israel’s recapture of the city. In a bid to keep the tour free of political undertones, US officials reportedly rejected a request for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join the visit, saying it would be “a private visit” by the president and that he would go on his own. Last week, the White House confirmed that Trump would not be accompanied by any Israeli officials when he visits the holy site.
Earlier on Monday, police said a protest broke out near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. The protesters were Jews, but the precise agenda of the protest was not immediately evident.
At 2 p.m. Trump is due to move on to deliver an address at the Israel Museum located across the street from the Knesset. This is set to be the main speech of his Israel trip. The US president will then return to Ben Gurion Airport and lift off for Italy, and the Vatican leg of his trip, at 4 p.m.
Courtesy:The Times of Israel

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