President Donald Trump placed a note in the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Monday, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to visit one of Judaism’s holiest sites.
Trump later called it a “great honor” to visit the wall, saying, “I can see a much deeper path, friendship with Israel.”
The historic visit is part of Trump’s efforts to highlight “the need for unity among three of the world’s great religions” on his first foreign trip, senior administration officials said.
Trump’s stop at the Western Wall came between Sunday’s trip to Saudi Arabia, where he called on Muslim leaders to “drive out the terrorists and extremists” from their lands and his forthcoming visit with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
At the Western Wall, Trump, wearing a black yarmulke, stood alone with his hand on the wall for several moments before tucking a note deep between the cracks.
It was deeply meaningful to visit the holiest site of my faith and to leave a note of prayer.
📷 Associated Press (AP) pic.twitter.com/9xzpZQywL2
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) May 22, 2017
Many visitors to the Western Wall leave prayer notes in the wall’s crevices. Those notes are collected periodically and buried at the nearby Mount of Olives cemetery. When Barack Obama visited the wall as a candidate for president and placed a note, it was later taken by a seminary student and sold to an Israeli newspaper, which published a photograph of it.