President Trump's Israel visit set for May 22
After much speculation surrounding the precise date, White House marks May 22 for President Trump's first official visit to Israel, where he will stay for one night; Secretary of State Tillerson will accompany the president, along with UN Envoy Nikki Haley, a staunch Israel supporter, and Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
US President Donald Trump is officially set to visit Israel for the first time since entering the White House on May 22 and will stay in the country for one night.
A delegation of 25 American officials were scheduled to arrive in Israel on Thursday to lay the groundwork ahead of next month's brief visit.
The delegation is supposed to attend a first meeting at the Foreign Ministry to coordinate the details of the visit, after which they will hold meetings at the President's Residence and the Prime Minister's Office.
Delegation members will also tour and examine several locations which could be included in the president’s itinerary upon his arrival.
The Trump administration reported Wednesday that the US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will also be accompanying the president on his visit.
Since taking on her new role, Haley has managed to earn the trust of many Israel supporters and build a reputation as one of Israel’s staunchest advocates on the international stage through a series of public speeches and declarations admonishing the UN for its bias treatment against the country.
Also joining President Trump on his visit, during which he is expected to lay out plans for a new peace initiative between Israel and the Palestinians, will be the new US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
Friedman is scheduled to arrive on May 15 and will submit his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin a month later.
Almost immediately after his arrival in Israel, Friedman will begin arranging plans for his boss in the White House who is likely to visit a week or two later. An official date has not yet been decided.
Friedman’s nomination was the subject of some controversy in light of past statement in which he declared his support for Israeli construction in the West Bank and described the left-wing US group, J Street as being "worse than kapos" — a reference to Jews who helped the Nazis imprison other Jews during the Holocaust. He had also accused Obama of "anti-Semitism."
His nomination was approved in the Senate by a vote of 52-46 with only two Democratic senators approving his inauguration.
“I’m very proud to say that my nomination represents the first time in American history that the US ambassador to Israel was nominated by the President as early as the first day of his presidency,”he said at his swearing-in ceremony. This fact, he added, spoke “volumes about how highly the Trump-Pence administration prioritizes our unbreakable bond with the State of Israel.”