US National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster announced that Trump will not be visiting the Israeli historical site of Masada and will now be speaking at the Israel Museum. According to Channel 2 News, the change in plans was made as the result of an IAF regulation prohibiting helicopter landings.
Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
US National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster revealed this evening (Tuesday) that US President Donald Trump, who will arrive in Israel next week as part of his first diplomatic trip outside of the US, will be visiting the Western Wall. However, instead of giving a speech at Masada as was initially reported, Trump will now be speaking at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. According to Channel 2 News, the reason behind this decision is the result of an Israeli Air Force (IAF) defense regulation, which prohibits helicopters from landing on Masada’s summit.
This regulation is enforced as helicopters raise a lot of dust making the landing very dangerous. It was placed into effect following a past visit at the site by a US Defense Secretary and upon landing, the wind and rocks damaged both to the historical site and to the helicopter’s propellers.
However, Israeli officials contacted their American counterparts offering an alternative: Trump may land at the bottom of the historical site and go up on the cable cars as former US President George W. Bush did upon his visit. The offer was turned down by the Americans.