Yerushalayim (Andrew Friedman/TPS) – US President Donald J. Trump has scheduled a visit to Israel next month, according to a report by Israel’s Channel Two.
The visit would be Trump’s first to Israel and the first presidential visit since President Barack Obama visited in March 2013. It would also be a change to a relatively recent presidential trend – Presidents Obama and George W. Bush both visited Israel during their second terms in office, whereas Trump will have been in office for less than six months.
Trump will be the sixth sitting US president to visit Israel. Presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter each held talks in Yerushalayim during the 1970s, while President Bill Clinton came a record four times, and Obama visited twice, including for the funeral of the late President Shimon Peres.
The timing of the visit appears to send an additional message of support to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and to the settlement camp in Israel that heavily supported Trump during the election campaign last year. The support was rewarded by a series of nominations of settlement-supporters to senior positions in the new administration, including Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner as senior advisor.
In addition, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the World Jewish Congress’s Plenary Assembly in New York on Wednesday that her presence at the world body indicates a “new day for Israel at the UN.” The comment followed Haley’s assertion at the annual AIPAC convention in Washington, D.C. in March that there is a “new sheriff in town” and several speeches on the Security Council floor condemning the body for undue attention directed at Israel at the expense of focus on international issues such as massacres in Syria, human rights abuses in Iran, and all of the above in North Korea.