Trump becomes first sitting US president to visit Jerusalem's Western Wall

US President Donald Trump made a historic visit to Jerusalem's Western Wall on Monday (May 22), standing before the holiest place where Jews are permitted to pray and saying a few words before inserting a note between the monumental stones.

He was accompanied by the Rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz, who said on Israel Radio that he recited two psalms with the US leader. One of them, Psalm 122, speaks of Jerusalem as a "city that is united together".

The ancient stones are in a part of Jerusalem that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel considers all of Jerusalem its indivisible capital, a status that is not recognised internationally.

The president was joined on the visit by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, an Orthodox Jew who went to the wall shortly after Trump and said prayers. Both he and Trump wore black kippahs, the skull caps worn by religious Jews and by others as a mark of respect.

It is the first time a sitting US president has visited and prayed at the site. Barack Obama visited in 2008, but it was during the campaign, before he became president.

The Wall, the visible portion of which stands more than 60 feet (20 metres) high, was a retaining structure for the second Jewish temple, which stood on an esplanade in the Old City before being destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.

The site is known to Jews as Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism, and to Muslims as The Noble Sanctuary, where al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, and the gold-topped Dome of the Rock, now stand.

on SPH Brightcove

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