US president says meetings in Saudi Arabia with King Salman and other Arab leaders gave him ‘new reasons for hope,’ adding ‘We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security, stability and peace to this region and its people.’
Upon his arrival in Israel on Monday, US President Donald Trump delivered a message of hope for peace, saying his meetings in Saudi Arabia with King Salman and other Arab leaders gave him “new reasons for hope.”
“We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security, stability and peace to this region and its people,” Trump said. “Of defeating terrorism and creating a future of prosperity and peace.”
He stressed that “we can only get there working together, there is no other way.”
Trump concluded his brief speech by affirming US commitment to Israel, saying “We love Israel, we respect Israel… the people of the United States of America are with you.”
President Trump landed in Israel midday to much fanfare at Ben-Gurion International Airport, where he was welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, and other dignitaries.
Upon deplaning, the American president walked the red carpet and reviewed an honor guard. The IDF’s band played the American national anthem followed by the Israeli one.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed Israel’s commitment to peace, listing as examples its long-lasting peace with Jordan and Egypt.
“Israel’s hand is extended in peace to all our neighbors, including the Palestinians,” Netanyahu declared. “The peace we seek is a genuine and durable, one in which the Jewish state is recognize, security remains in Israel’s hands and the conflict ends once and for all.”
The prime minister added that he looked forward to working with Trump in the future “to advance security, prosperity and peace. I’m confident that under your leadership, the remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States will become ever stronger.”
In his own speech, President Rivlin focused on the bond between Israel and the United States.
“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,” Rivlin said.
And while he thanked Trump for his “commitment to Israel’s ability to face the threats of today and of tomorrow,” the Israeli president made the point that while the world, the Middle East, and Israel all need a strong United States—”the United States also needs a strong Israel.”
“In the Middle East—an area that suffers from terrorism and madness—the alliance between the United States and Israel shines like a beacon of liberty and progress,” Rivlin explained.
“The bond between us is a bond between states, but also between people. We share common values, as we share the hope for peace,” he added.
Rivlin also thanked Trump for recognizing the significance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people, adding “Jerusalem is the beating heart of the Jewish people: as it has been for 3000 years.”
Also attending the welcoming ceremony were Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh, Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman, Israel’s Chief Rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau, and government ministers.
Many of the ministers initially did not want to attend the ceremony as they were insulted when they learned they would not get to shake President Trump’s hand. After learning about this, an angery Prime Minister informed them they are required to attend.
Following the ceremony, President Trump and First Lady Melania will head to the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, where they will be welcomed by President Rivlin and his wife Nechama. After the American president signs the guest book, the two leaders will hold a private meeting following which they will make statements to the press.
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.'”
From the President’s Residence, Trump will head to the Old City for a private visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. He will then visit the Western Wall, where he will be accompanied by Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch and joined by wife Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, without any Israeli government officials.
The entire Western Wall plaza will be closed off for Trump, who will be the first president to visit the holy site while in office.
Meanwhile, 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.
After the visit to the Western Wall, Trump will head to the fortified King David Hotel, where he will be staying during his visit.
He will meet in private with Prime Minister Netanyahu at the King David Hotel at around 6pm, following which their teams will join the meeting.
At 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.”
Following the dinner, the two leaders will give statements to the press but will not take questions.
The Article was published on Ynet