President Donald Trump continued his first overseas trip with a stop in Israel today to meet with President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump met with Rivlin earlier today in Tel Aviv. He also delivered a speech with Neanyahu by his side.
Trump met with Netanyahu at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem first, then delivered remarks at Netanyahu’s residence at 12:25 p.m ET (7:25 p.m. local time).
“This is a land filled with beauty, wonder, and the spirit of God,” Trump said. “I’ve been amazed by the glorious and beautiful monuments and holy sites, and the generosity of your incredible people. Because it’s all about the people. I was deeply moved by my visit today to the Western Wall. Words fail to capture the experience. It will leave an impression on me forever.”
Trump insisted that Israel and the U.S. will continue to work together and promised a “renewed effort” to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
“We are willing to work together. I believe that a new level of partnership is possible and will happen — one that will bring greater safety to this region, greater security to the United States, and greater prosperity to the world,” Trump said. “This includes a renewed effort at peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and I thank the Prime Minister for his commitment to pursuing the peace process. He’s working very hard at it. It’s not easy. I’ve heard it’s one of the toughest deals of all, but I have a feeling that we’re going to get there eventually, I hope.”
The trip to Israel comes at a critical moment for relations between the two countries. As Foreign Policy reported last week, Israeli Intelligence was not happy with Trump after it was revealed that Israel was the source of the highly classified information Trump shared with Russian diplomats on May 10.
“To them, it’s horrifying,” an official told Foreign Policy. “Their first question was: ‘What is going on? What is this?’”
In addition, Bloomberg reported before the trip began that Trump is not expected to announce moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel. Trump previously promised to do so, and Republicans in Congress have called for the move.
“We don’t think it would be wise to do it at this time,” a White Hosue official told Bloomberg. “We’ve been very clear what our position is and what we would like to see done, but we’re not looking to provoke anyone when everyone’s playing really nice.”