President Trump has cancelled a visit and a planned speech at a historic Israel site because he was not allowed to arrive using his helicopter.
Trump refused to visit the Masada National Park because ‘it was too hot’ and he would have to travel using a cable car – even though other presidents including Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama have travelled to the site in cable cars.
The president will rather be speaking at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem during his visit on May 22, according to the Jerusalem post.
‘Well Masada was too hot, so we found a great spot instead for POTUS,’ Eitan Weiss, deputy spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry tweeted, seemingly mocking the president, according to Newsweek report.
Referencing manuscripts found at the museum, he added: ‘@IsraelMuseum. The Dead Sea Scrolls make an important setting.’
President Trump has cancelled a visit and a planned speech at the Masada National Park because he was not allowed to arrive using his helicopter . The president is pictured here on May 17, arriving on the South Lawn from his presidential helicopter, Marine One
Trump refused to visit the ancient Israeli site because he would have to travel using a cable car. Pictured is a cable car on its way to the top of the ancient hilltop fortress of Masada on May 16
The Masada is one of Israel’s most important historic sites. The fortress became a symbol of Jewish heroism after dozens of Jews there chose to kill themselves, 960 in total, rather than surrender to the Romans in 70 AD.
An Israeli military helicopter damaged famous historic ruins in 1997, when it landed on the site with the chopper.
Since then, authorities have banned planes or helicopters from landing at the site and visitors have had to use cable cars or walk up 100 steps to get to the top.
‘When Clinton visited in 1998, he came up with the old cable car and walked up 100 steps,’ director of the National Masada park Eitan Campbell told the Jerusalem Post on Monday
‘George W. Bush came by the new cable car. We were saved the 100 steps. ‘
Masada fortress became a symbol of Jewish heroism after dozens of Jews there chose to kill themselves, 960 in total, rather than surrender to their enemies
George Bush, pictured with then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (left) – toured the Masada in 2008 after he had served office
The former president, pictured here on May 15, traveled in a cable car to make it to the top of the landmark
Former president Clinton visited the site in 1998. The Clintons did not use the cable cars on offer and walked up 100 steps to get to the top of the landmark. They are pictured here with their host Benjamin Netanyahu (left)
The former president and Netanyahu had a fraught relationship during his term because of stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The Clintons are pictured here with their daughter Chelsea (far right) as well as Netanyahu and his wife Sarah (center)
Trump will be visiting Israel and Palestinian territories on May 22 and 23 – amid reports of a ‘sour’ relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhyahu, since last week’s report that he had given the Russian foreign minister and ambassador classified information provided by Israel.
What’s more, before the visit White House officials refused to allow Benjamin Nyetenyahu to accompany Trump at the Western Wall – making him the first sitting US president to visit the historic site – because they did not consider the West Bank a part of Israeli land.
This announcement left Netanyahu’s angry and White House officials had to reiterate that this was not Trump’s position.
As part of his eight-day foreign trip, Trump will also be visiting Saudi Arabia, the Vatican City, Italy and Belgium.
Why the Masada is of great historic importance in Israel
Masada, located on the Southern District of Israel, was mountain fortress constructed by King Herod .
Herod got hold of the land after a battle, following the death of his father. To protect himself in case of a revolt, he built two palaces to act as a fortress.
Perhaps the single most important event at the Masada happened during the first Roman-Jewish War began in 73 AD. The then-roman governor Lucius Silva decided to attack Masada, where Jewish rebels known as the Sicarri – a notorious bunch who were known for killing other Jews – were hiding.
When the rebels realized the Romans were trying to penetrate the fortress at Masada, they threw stones at them – but to no avail because the Romans had deployed Jewish prisoners to destroy the fortress.
After two to three months of trying to break through, the Romans succeeded. When it became obvious to the Jewish that their enemies would finally conquer them, they killed themselves as well as their wives and children. Nine hundred and sixty were killed in the mass suicide and only two women and five children were found alive.
The ramp the Romans used to destroy the fortress still stands on the western side and can be climbed on foot.