Culture

Trump Becomes The First Sitting U.S. President To Visit The Western Wall In Jerusalem

Following a rather tumultuous week at home in the United States, Donald Trump embarked on his first foreign trip as president last Friday. So far, he has delivered remarks in Saudi Arabia pressing the need to “drive out” terrorists, incurred the wrath of Roger Stone and other allies for appearing peaceably with the country’s leaders, and touched a glowing orb. Yet all of these public displays of diplomacy paled in comparison to Monday’s historic photo op at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, one of Judaism’s holiest sites. That’s because Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to visit it.

While wearing a yarmulke, a brimless cap traditionally worn by males in Orthodox Judaism, Trump and senior advisor Jared Kushner spent a few moments speaking with Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich and other Jewish leaders before approaching the wall with a pre-written note. As CNN reports, the highly publicized visit drew criticism from Israeli leaders who had requested Trump attend the Western Wall with “government officials by his side.”

What’s more, tempers were already irked by what an unidentified junior U.S. official told his Isreali counter part during a preceding discussion. According to ABC News, a heated discussion about allowing Israeli government representatives and media to attend the Western Wall visit were further enraged when the unnamed American official said the holy site was “not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank.” The West Bank, of course, is a landlocked area hotly disputed by Israel and Palestine.


These controversies notwithstanding, CNN’s Daniel Burke took a moment to remind viewers that former President Barack Obama had visited the site — albeit when he was a U.S. senator — back in 2008. His note was infamously stolen and published soon thereafter.

Whether or not the same will happen to Trump’s note in the coming months remains to be seen. Even so, Twitter is already trying to guess what its contents are.

(Via CBS News, CNN and ABC News)

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