Trump in Israel
President Trump landed in Israel today to click off his 26 hour visit. His flight happened to have been the first direct flight from Saudi Arabia to Israel.
To watch Trump’s arrival click here.
In his greeting remarks, PM Netanyahu called Trump’s visit “truly historic”, saying, “Never before has the first foreign trip of the president of the United States included a visit to Israel.” He then thanked Trump for his “powerful expression of your friendship to Israel.”
President Rivlin said, “Your visit is a symbol of the unbreakable bond between Israel and America. You are the President of Israel’s greatest, most important ally. You are a true friend of Israel, and of the Jewish people.”
He also highlighted the significance of Jerusalem saying, “Mr. President, today I will have the honor to host you in Jerusalem. We are honored to have you here with us, as we mark fifty years of ‘Jerusalem Day’, Yom Yerushalayim. It makes us very happy to know that Israel’s most important ally recognizes the significance of Jerusalem to the Jewish People. Jerusalem is the beating heart of the Jewish People: as it has been for 3000 years.”
Here’s Trump’s schedule for the rest of his visit:
Monday – Day 1
1:15pm – Trump and the First Lady will be welcomed by Rivlin and his wife at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. Trump and Rivlin will meet privately and then hold a press conference. Rivlin and his wife will then take Trump and the first lady to the garden at the President’s Residence, where an almond tree was planted to mark the visit. A sign near the tree bears a quote in Hebrew, English and Arabic from the Song of Ascents in the Book of Psalms: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”
2:30pm – Trump will privately visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
3:15pm – Trump, joined by Melania, Jared and Ivanka, will have a private visit to the Kotel, accompanied by the Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall Shmuel Rabinovitch. The entire Western Wall plaza will be totally closed off during the visit.
4:45pm – First Lady Melania will join Prime Minister Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, on a visit to the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Karem. They will talk with the medical staff and meet with children in the play area for a joint artistic activity.
6:00pm – Trump and Netanyahu will meet privately at the King David Hotel, where Trump and his team are staying.
7:15pm – Trump, Netanyahu and their wives will travel to the Prime Minister’s Residence for dinner, which will be cooked by Israeli chef Moshe Segev. Singer Shiri Maimon will perform two songs, one of them being the Frank Sinatra version of “New York, New York.”
Tuesday – Day 2
10:00am – Trump will visit Bethlehem where he will meet with PA President Abbas.
1:00pm – Trump and Melania will visit Yad Vashem (Holocaust museum and memorial) where Trump will participate in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance. During the ceremony, Trump will rekindle the eternal flame and lay a wreath on a stone slab under which ashes from extermination camps are buried.
The Trumps will be accompanied by Nad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev, as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu, his wife Sara, and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau.
1:30pm – Trump will make a speech, concluding his visit.
3:40pm – Trump leaves Israel for Rome.
Trump will be accompanied on his visit by some 1,300 Americans, including security guards, Secret Service, Marines, and his entourage, all of whom will take up almost all of the available rooms in Jerusalem’s hotels. His convoy will include dozens of limousines, trucks and nine helicopters.
For further reading click here.
Late last night, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee visited Joseph’s Tomb near Shechem (Nablus). The area is under the control of the Palestinian Authority and Jews have restricted access to the holy site.
Huckabee was accompanied by Samaria Regional Council leader Dagan and joined by Dagan’s deputy Davidi Ben-Zion, Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich, GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Roni Numa, Samaria Division Commander Col. Gilad Amit, and the Israel Police’s Judea and Samaria District Commander Moshe Bareket.
Huckabee said, “It’s an amazing experience to have to come to this type of difficulty just to be able to come to a holy site for Jews and frankly even for Christians, who pay tribute to Joseph. To have to do it in the dead of night, under armed guard, with the smell of tear gas in the air, burning tires along the route, it’s a stark reminder (to how different) it is in the heart of Israel, where the Israeli government protects every Muslim that accesses their holy site.”
For further reading click here.
As the harvest festival of Shavuot approaches, dozens of hasidic young men took to the fields to manually harvest wheat that will be used to make the matzo used by the Rebbe of Vishnitz (never to early to prepare for Passover).
To see images of this (unusual) undertaking, click here.