Who and What Donald Trump Will See on His Israel Visit

The U.S. president arrives in Jerusalem on May 22, and the Israeli media is full of stories about his potential itinerary. Yad Vashem? The Western Wall? Masada? And, the big question, how will the King David Hotel compare to Mar-a-Lago?

U.S. President Donald Trump, son Barron Trump and first lady Melania Trump disembarking from Air Force One in Maryland, April 2017.
MIKE THEILER/REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump will arrive in Israel on May 22 for his first official visit to the country. It will last approximately 24 hours and include a stop in the West Bank. So far, the White House has provided very few details about the visit, including the list of senior officials in attendance. By contrast, the Israeli authorities have briefed the local press about the expected itinerary, which is currently being finalized.

According to Israeli press reports, Trump will start by visiting the Western Wall, together with his family. The White House has confirmed that first lady Melania Trump will accompany him on the visit. Daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is a senior adviser to Trump, are also expected to attend.

After his visit to the Kotel, Israeli reports suggest Trump will continue on to the president’s residence in Jerusalem, for a reception with President Reuven Rivlin.

The next stop will be Yad Vashem – the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, where the U.S. president is expected to lay a wreath in memory of the 6 million victims of the Shoah.

However, Israeli Army Radio reported Tuesday that Trump’s team has asked the Israeli authorities to keep the Yad Vashem stop short, and perhaps even remove it entirely from the schedule. This would create a lot of controversy, since it is customary that every senior foreign official visits Yad Vashem on their first official trip to Israel.

Last month, U.S. Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis canceled his Yad Vashem visit during his short stay in Israel. Unlike Trump, though, Mattis has visited Israel a number of times as a military officer in recent years and been to Yad Vashem many times.

Later, on the evening of May 22, Trump will reportedly have dinner at the prime minister’s residence with Benjamin Netanyahu.

General Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking during his visit to Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, May 9, 2017.
RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS
Visitors at the northern palace at Masada National Park.
Moshe Gilad

Trump will probably stay at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, which has hosted many world leaders in the past, including former U.S. presidents on their visits to Israel.

One event that keeps being mentioned in Israeli reports, but which has not been confirmed by any U.S. source, is a May 23 Trump speech at Masada. The ancient fortress overlooking the Dead Sea is one of the most popular and famous historical sites in Israel.

Assuming this speech does take place, it will be one of Trump’s last events in Israel, before he visits the Palestinian city of Bethlehem for a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

He is then scheduled to return to Ben-Gurion International Airport, where he will depart for the next leg of his tour – a visit to the Vatican City, in Rome, on May 24.

Trump’s tour is set to conclude with a NATO meeting in Brussels the following day, and the G-7 summit in Sicily on May 26.