Trump’s Visit to Jerusalem


Trump visits Western Wall. Photo courtesy of The Sun

Mabel Ra, Photojournalist

On Monday, May 22, 2017, President Trump visited the Western Wall in hopes of uniting “three of the world’s greatest religions,” according to senior administration officials. He was the first sitting US President to visit the wall. Barack Obama also visited the wall when he was a presidential candidate. Trump’s visit to the Western Wall occurred after his visit to Saudi Arabia and before his visit to Vatican and meeting with Pope Francis. The first lady Melania Trump, Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner accompanied him to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall.


The Western Wall holds much significance, as it is a part of the wall that was once known as the Second Temple during 530 BCE-70 CE, a time before the Romans exiled the Jews. Today, the Temple Mount is the most holy place in Judaism, but the Western Wall comes in second place. At the Western Wall, new Israeli soldiers are sworn in, and Israeli soldiers are also memorialized at the site.


Trump’s attire consisted of a black yarmulke, a traditional cap worn by Jewish men.  When he arrived at the Western Wall, he placed his hand upon the wall before placing a note in one of its cracks. Barack Obama had also placed a note in the cracks of the walls, and this note was thereafter taken by a seminary student and sold to an Israeli newspaper. Additionally, Ivanka Trump left a note of her own at the wall and later tweeted “It was deeply meaningful to visit the holiest site of my faith and to leave a note of prayer.” Traditionally, people who vote isit the Western Wall utilize the cracks in the wall to insert their prayer notes. The notes are subsequently taken and buried at the Mount of Olives cemetery.


Many Israeli people were not sure if the Trump family would stay together at the Western Wall, violating the gender segregation rules at the wall, and upsetting Orthodox Jews. However, the Trump family split and separated the men from the women. Israel’s Channel 2 documented the entire visit, even showing Ivanka Trump crying at one point.


However, before Trump’s appearance at the Western Wall, some U.S. representatives informed Israeli officials that Netanyahu should not accompany Trump. Benjamin Netanyahu is the current Israeli Prime Minister, and he did not accompany Trump during his visit.  A U.S. representative stated that the wall is not their territory, as it is “in the West Bank. It is a private visit by the president, and it’s not [their] business” according to Israel’s Channel 2 News.


Since his visit, Trump has stated that he sees “a much deeper path, friendship with Israel.”