President Trump arrived in Israel on Monday morning on the second leg of his first foreign trip as President.  He was welcomed at the airport by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, their spouses and cabinet.

U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd L) and first lady Melania Trump (3rd L) stand with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd R), his wife Sara (R) and Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin (L) upon their arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod near Tel Aviv, Israel May 22, 2017. Credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The President is in Israel on a 26-hour whirlwind trip from Saudi Arabia with hopes for peace and stability in the region. He is scheduled to meet with his old friend and close pal Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Rivlin for talks later.

The President together with First Lady Melania Trump arrived in Tel Aviv on Air Force One on a direct flight from Riyadh in what has been described as the first direct flight from Saudi Arabia to Israel.

President Trump and First Lady Melanie Trump arrive in Israel on their second leg of a 9-day foreign trip. Seen here on Air Force One at Ben Gurion International Airport at Lod near Tel Aviv on Monday 22 May 2017. Credit: Reuters

Speaking at a welcome ceremony at Ben Gurion International Airport in near Tel Aviv, President Trump expressed how he has found “new reasons for hope” for the region after spending 3 days with Arab and Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia.

“We reached agreements to pursue greater and greater cooperation in the fight against terrorism,” he indicated.

“We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region and to its people, defeating terrorism and creating a future of harmony, prosperity and peace.”

Like Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations whose leader the President met in Riyadh, Israel, too, has been anticipating this important visit by a much friendlier American President to reset the US-Israel relations that had been damaged under Barack Obama.

President Trump speaking at Ben Gurion International Airport upon arrival for his 2nd leg of his 9-day foreign trip. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

“You have a great opportunity right now,” Trump told President Reuven Rivlin.  “There’s a great feeling for peace throughout the Middle East.  I think people have just had enough.  They’ve had enough of the bloodshed and the killing.”

“Mr. President, we are happy to see that America is back in the area,” said Rivlin.  “America is back again.”

The close ties between longtime allies United States and Israel were visibly on display for all to see. This point is further enhanced by the closeness and camaraderie between the two leaders, Trump and Netanyahu.

The Present affirmed the close ties between the two nations in his welcome address at the airport.

“The people of Israel are excited by your arrival – and have great expectations.”

“The world needs a strong United States.  The Middle East needs a strong United States.  Israel needs a strong United States,” Rivlin continued.

“And may I say, the United States needs a strong Israel.”

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump sign a guest book at Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and his wife Nechama Rivlin’s residence in Jerusalem as they look on. May 22, 2017. Credit: REUTERS/Noam Moskowitz

After a successful first trip that ended on a high note with a historic anti-terrorism speech to Arab Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia, Trump has the wind of that success on his back.

Prime Minister Netanyahu took note of that.

“Yesterday in Saudi Arabia you delivered a forceful speech of clarity and conviction,” Netanyahu stated.  “You called all nations to drive out terrorists and extremists…For 69 years Israel has been doing precisely,” a strong rebuke to the previous Administration’s treatment of Israel.

“Israel’s hand is extended in peace to all our neighbours,” he said in reference to Palestinians, but only in the services of a “genuine and durable one in which the Jewish state is recognized, security remains in Israel’s hands and the conflict ends once and for all.”

President Trump promised that he would work toward “a future where the nations of the region are at peace and all of our children can grow – and grow up strong, and grow up free from terrorism and violence.”

President Trump becomes the first seating U.S. President to visit the Western Wall – 22 May 2017. Credit: Associated Press

The welcome ceremony in Israel couldn’t have been more different than the one in Saudi Arabia with all the pomp and circumstance befitting a royal welcoming.  Here, the presence of women in the military and within the welcoming party couldn’t be starker.

Trump also visited and prayed at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, making him the first incumbent U.S. President to visit Judaism’s holiest site.  He also visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

President Trump is scheduled to meet with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday on what he called the “ultimate deal” in another effort to bring about peace and stability, an elusive topic in that region.


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