For far too long, when foreign VIPs in Israel visited the Western Wall, they were not accompanied by their Israeli hosts for fear that they would be seen as recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Jerusalem holy site. Well, it is Israel’s holy site, and, writes The Times of Israel’s Raphael Ahren, thanks to the current American administration, it is now kosher for visitors and their Israeli friends to pray there together:
On May 22, 2017, Donald Trump became the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall. “Words fail to capture the experience,” he said a few hours later. “It will leave an impression on me forever.”
The historic visit took place several months before Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and, following what was standard diplomatic protocol at the time — and, to some degree, still is — the stopover at the Wall was billed as “private.”
Like all foreign leaders who went to the site before him, Trump was unaccompanied by high-ranking Israeli officials, lest anyone misinterpret their presence as a tacit recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the city’s disputed eastern section…
But since Trump’s visit to the Wall, his December 6, 2017, recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the May 14, 2018, move of the US embassy there, this hitherto ironclad rule has slowly but surely crumbled.
In recent months, more foreign dignitaries than ever before have visited the Jewish holy site, and many of them no longer mind being chaperoned there by Israeli diplomats.
“A lot of the inhibitions that might have existed in the past have been dropped. It’s pretty clear to many in the international community that the area of the Wall, if not the whole city, will remain in Israel’s hands in any future peace arrangement,” said Dore Gold, a former Foreign Ministry director-general…Tags: US-Israel Relations