President Trump Foreign Trip: Historic Visit to Israel a ‘Game Changer’
Israel – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosted President Donald Trump for a visit Monday that both men described as exceptionally warm.
Following their private meeting, the men emerged and gave public comments.
“We had a terrific discussion today and when I say terrific, it encompasses everything,” said the prime minister.
He expressed his appreciation for Trump and his strong stance on issues like getting rid of the Iran nuclear deal and combating radical terrorism, noting a major difference between Trump and former President Barack Obama.
“For the first time in my lifetime, I see a real hope for change,” Netanyahu remarked.
Trump called Netanyahu a “great friend” and ally, though he stopped short of promising to rip up the Iran nuclear deal. He was also silent on the controversial two-state solution, which some tout as the way to bring lasting peace to the Middle East.
“I’ve heard it’s one of the toughest deals of all, but I have a feeling we’ll get there eventually — I hope,” Trump said on the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship.
Trump also spoke about his visit earlier in the day to one of the Jewish religion’s most important sights.
“I was deeply moved by my visit today to the Western Wall,” he said. “It will leave an impression on me forever.”
Trump is first sitting U.S. president to visit the Western Wall. Donning a yarmulke, he said a prayer and placed a note in a crevice of the wall. Watch below.
After giving their comments, Trump and Netanyahu left for a private dinner with their wives at the prime minister’s residence.
A Game Changer for Israel?
The president’s trip marks a pivotal moment for the U.S. relationship with the Jewish state and the future of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Your visit here, Mr. President, is truly historic,” Netanyahu told Trump earlier after greeting the U.S. commander in chief at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport.. “Never before has a first trip of a president of the United States included a trip to Israel. Thank you, Mr. President.”
The president also took a tour of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is believed to be the place of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Watch below.
“We love Israel. We respect Israel. And I send you the warmest greetings from your friend and ally, all of the people of the United States of America. We are with you,” Trump said.
The epicenter of the 30-hour visit of President Trump is Jerusalem’s historic King David Hotel. The president will be guarded by a small army of 10,000 police and soldiers. Israelis are greeting the president with a mixture of anxiety and optimism.
“President Trump’s coming today and we are celebrating and honoring his visit,” Mike Evans told CBN News.
Evans, with the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem, posted signs and banners around Jerusalem to welcome the president. Evans believes the new alliance Trump forged in Saudi Arabia with the Sunni states will benefit Israel.
“This is going to be a game changer for the State of Israel,” Evans said. “They cannot resolve anything without Sunni cooperation. Even if it’s plausible deniability, the Syrian crisis, the ISIS crisis, even the Palestinian crisis, the Sunnis are critical mass for that. He has succeeded with that.”
This alliance also presents a bulwark against Iran’s regional ambitions. But recent statements and actions by the administration concern some Israelis.
“There’s no doubt about that because it is a change from the tension of the Obama administration,” CBN News Senior Editor John Waage said. “But there are concerns that the administration has not been speaking with one voice [about issues] that are very important to Israelis.
“One of them being the move of the [U.S.] embassy, which you have some members of the administration saying Tel Aviv is still the capital of Israel and others saying we believe Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” Waage explained. “The administration has to speak with one voice on this and right now they are not.”
These mixed messages are one reason a recent poll fell from 80 percent of Israelis who believed Trump was pro-Israel to 56 percent now. Yet Evans believes Trump will keep his promise.
“He never promised us he’d do it in six months,” Evans said. “He promised us he’d do it in his presidency.”
Jerusalem is also a key issue to evangelical Christians who voted overwhelmingly for Trump.
“Trump may ask for patience, he may get patience. But in the end they want to see that happen and right now that’s at odds with U.S. policy in the State Department,” Waage said. “So Trump has some sorting out within his own administration as to whether he can truly make good on that promise.”
On Monday, Trump plans to visit to major religious sites in Jerusalem. First the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where many believe Jesus rose from the dead and the Western Wall below the Temple Mount where the two Jewish Temples stood.
Trump met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and plans to meet later with Netanyahu at the Prime Minister’s residence. On Tuesday, he will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem. Trump says his goal is to restart peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Report via CBN News
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