JERUSALEM — President Donald Trump on Monday visited the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem as part of his 24-hour tour here in Israel.
The church, believed to be the place of Jesus’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection, is one of the holiest sites in Christianity. Trump met outside the church with leaders of local Christian denominations before going inside for a private tour closed to the news media.
Afterwards, Trump went to the nearby Western Wall where he became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Jewish holy site. The Western Wall is part of an ancient retaining wall erected around the Jewish Temple. The Temple Mount, site of the first and second Jewish Temples, is considered the holiest site in Judaism.
Trump toured the holy sites after a red carpet ceremony at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv and a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the president’s residence in Jerusalem.
Trump is headed next to a private social dinner with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On Tuesday, Trump’s schedule includes a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem and a wreath laying ceremony at Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. Trump will then give a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem before departing the country for the Vatican.
Trump is here in Jerusalem on Jerusalem Day, a national holiday that marks Israel’s reunification of Jerusalem after the 1967 Six Day War and the establishment of Israeli sovereignty over the eastern sections of the city, which include the Old City, Western Wall and Temple Mount.
Many will be watching to see if Trump uses the visit to announce a move of the U.S. embassy from the beach in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, although reports put that as unlikely.
Israel officially annexed Jerusalem in 1980 in a move not recognized by the international community because the Palestinians claim eastern sections of the city for a future Palestinian capital despite their never having had a state or entity in those areas.
Current U.S. law does not officially recognize Israeli control over the eastern sections of the city, going so far as to prevent American citizens born in Jerusalem from listing “Israel” as their country of birth. All eyes will be on Trump to see if he makes any declarations regarding Israel’s status in Jerusalem.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
JERUSALEM – The United States and Israel must stand together to fight against terror groups and their sponsors like the Islamic State and Iran, President Donald Trump told Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday.
“This moment in history calls for us to strengthen cooperation as both Israel and America face common threats from ISIS and other terrorist groups, to countries like Iran that sponsor terrorism and fund and foment terrible violence, not only here but all over the world,” Trump said at a welcoming ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.
“Together we can work to end the scourge of violence that has taken so many lives here in Israel and around the world.”
“Iran must never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon. Ever. And [it] must cease its deadly funding, training and equipping of terrorists and militias,” he added.
Earlier, Rivlin told Trump that Iran posed a threat to the Jewish state both within its borders and outside of them.
“We need to be sure that Iran is out of our borders, out of Syria and out of Lebanon,” Rivlin said.
Trump thanked Rivlin for inviting him and his wife Melania to his home.
“I’m honored to be in the great State of Israel, homeland of the Jewish people, I’m awed by the beauty and majesty of this sacred and very holy land,” he said.
“Thank you for opening your wonderful home and welcoming Melania and myself to your amazing country, and that’s what it is, it is an amazing country. What you’ve done … has virtually never been done before,” Trump added.