US President Donald Trump and a large entourage arrived at Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport this afternoon.
Security preparations in Jerusalem for the short visit – reported to be costing US taxpayer approximately $100 million – included organizing a special detail of 10,000 Israeli police officers, and deploying infrared balloons above the King David Hotel and robots in the sewers under the hotel to sense any impending attacks.
The president and his wife are booked at the King David along with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, and support personnel.
All 233 rooms of the King David were sealed off and sterilized ahead of the Americans’ arrival. The swanky Presidential, Royal and Jerusalem suites have independent air conditioning in case of a gas attack and are built to withstand rocket attack. In addition, the US is installing rocket-proof glass in front of the windows.
In addition to the King David, two other Dan chain hotels in close proximity — the 129-room Dan Boutique Jerusalem and the 289-room Dan Panorama – are closed to regular guests in order to house members of Trump’s entourage including US and Israeli Secret Service agents and US Marines, Navy Seals and Army Rangers.
The King David has hosted every American president this century. Executive Chef David Biton was quoted as saying that the hotel’s kosher kitchen had received no special menu requests for Trump’s visit. American and Israeli security officers will be present during food preparation and will taste every item going from the kitchen to the president to assure nothing has been poisoned.
The president was to be helicoptered from the airport to The First Station in Jerusalem and driven from there to the President’s Residence to meet with President Reuven Rivlin.
His itinerary for Monday also includes the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara and US First Lady Melania Trump are scheduled to visit Hadassah Medical Center at Ein Kerem campus this afternoon, where they will participate in art activity with pediatric patients.
At 6pm, President Trump is to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the King David Hotel, where the Trumps and many members of the delegation and security staff are staying. Later, the Trumps and Netanyahus will dine together at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem.
On Tuesday, Trump will go to Bethlehem to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Later he will visit Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, where he’ll receive an exact replica of the Holocaust-era personal album of Nazi victim Ester Goldstein, murdered at the age of 16. He will rekindle the eternal flame and lay a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance.
Finally, Trump is to deliver remarks at 2pm at the Israel Museum before departing Israel at 4pm.