Trump's visit to include speech at Israel Museum, private visit to Jerusalem holy sites
The US president will arrive in Israel for a busy one-day visit on Monday, including a welcome ceremony at the airport, meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Rivlin, dinner at the Prime Minister's Residence and a major speech at the Israel Museum; Trump will meet with Abbas on Tuesday.
US President Donald Trump will land in Israel on Monday at noon for a busy one-day visit that will include meetings with Israel's leadership, a speech at the Israel Museum and a private visit to the holy sites in Jerusalem.
Air Force One, arriving straight from the US president's visit to Saudi Arabia, will land at 12:15pm at Ben-Gurion International Airport, where Trump will be welcomed in a state ceremony by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, and other dignitaries.
Trump will walk the red carpet and review an honor guard. Then, after the Israeli and American national anthems are played, Trump, Rivlin and Netanyahu will make short speeches.
The American delegation initially wanted to skip the ceremony in the hot midday sun and fly the president straight to Jerusalem immediately upon landing, but Israel insisted. In an effort to keep the ceremony short, Trump will not be shaking hands with dignitaries after the speeches at the airport.
Trump will then board Marine One and fly to Jerusalem, where the helicopter will land at a specially prepared landing pad at The First Station cultural complex.
Trump and First Lady Melania will then head straight to the President's Residence, 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 First Lady Melania and daughter Ivanka.
Israel has asked the American delegation to allow Prime Minister Netanyahu to accompany Trump on his visit to the Western Wall, but the request has been declined.
After the visit to the Western Wall, Trump will head to the King David Hotel, where he will be staying during his visit, while 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.
At 6pm, Trump will meet in private with Prime Minister Netanyahu at the King David Hotel, 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."
During the dinner, Prime Minister Netanyahu is planning on presenting Trump with a beautiful Bible book.
Following the dinner, the two leaders will give statements to the press but will not respond to questions.
The rest of the American delegation—including daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner, aide Steve Bannon, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis—was supposed to dine at the King David Hotel with their Israeli hosts, including Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, other government ministers, and senior Foreign Ministry officials, but the Americans canceled it at the last moment.
The Americans told Israel on Sunday morning that they wish to cancel the 80-participant dinner for logistical reasons, but Jerusalem officials believe the cancelation was done to ensure the event will not distract from Trump's dinner with Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Residence.
The Israeli invitees were shocked and disappointed by the cancelation, as the event would have been a rare opportunity for senior Israeli officials to meet face-to-face with White House officials.
The Foreign Ministry's spokesperson confirmed the dinner at the King David Hotel had been canceled, adding that smaller meetings were planned between relevant officials.
On Tuesday, Trump will arrive in Bethlehem for a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
At 1pm, he will hold a short 15-minutes-long visit at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, where he 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 American president will be invited to sign the Yad Vashem guest book and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev will present Trump with a token of remembrance, an exact replica of the original Holocaust-era personal album that belonged to Ester Goldstein who was murdered during the Holocaust at the age of 16.
Trump and First Lady Melania will be accompanied during their visit to Yad Vashem by Shalev, as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu, his wife Sara, and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau.
Trump will then head to the Israel Museum, where he will make a speech to conclude his visit. In his speech, Trump is expected to present his vision for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, and express his support to the people of Israel.
At 3:40pm, Trump will leave Israel for his next destination, Rome.