In a first, the top US diplomat has gone to the holiest place where Jews can pray at the Western Wall accompanied by senior Israeli officials.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was joined this week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a visit of the Western Wall at the Jerusalem Temple Mount.
This is the first time that Washington’s top diplomat has ever visited Jerusalem’s contested Old City accompanied by a senior Israeli official.
The Western Wall, a retaining wall of the Biblical Temple compound, is beneath the Temple Mount and is the holiest place where Jews are allowed to pray.
After signing a guestbook, the three men stepped up to the wall, placing their right hands on the ancient stones before bowing their heads in prayer.
Netanyahu and Pompeo also placed notes into the wall, a longstanding tradition. The two men were also accompanied by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
The rest of the international community does not recognize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, including the Old City, and so visiting foreign dignitaries refrain from going there in the company of Israeli officials.
So did the U.S. just tacitly recognize Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount with this first time ever move? It was no accident.
Pompeo said he thought it was important to visit the Wall with the Israeli leader as a show of support for Israel.
“I think it’s symbolic that a senior American official go there with a prime minister of Israel,” he said ahead of the visit. “It’s a place that’s important to many faiths and I’m looking forward to it. I think it will be very special.”
When US President Donald Trump visited the site in May of 2017, he did so without official Israeli accompaniment. And then later, when Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he stressed that he was not taking a position on the “specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders.”
But now this U.S. visit with a visiting top foreign dignitary going to the Western Wall at the Temple Mount in the company of Israeli officials, from a diplomatic standpoint, it could mean a change of the US administration’s attitude concerning Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.
The visit by Pompeo with Israeli PM Netanyahu to the Western Wall could be seen as tacit American recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the contested Jewish holy site and a shift in US policy.
The Biblical prophecies (Zechariah 14, Luke 21, Revelation 11) foretell that Israel and Jerusalem will become the focus of the world in the Last Days signaling we are nearing the end of this age and the coming of Jesus Christ.
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