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19 May 2017

Cloak and daggers are drawn for Trump’s trip to the Holy Land and Israel Premium

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Israeli intelligence allegedly leaked by the White House to the Russians is proving a prickly issue for one of the US’s staunches allies

Donald Trump wanted the focus of his first foreign Presidential trip to be the religious sites he will visit. But in the Holy Land, the spying saga has elbowed sacred sites right off the agenda.

There was great anticipation here for Trump’s visit to the Western Wall, which will make him the first sitting US President to go there. The key word is “was” — because as of Tuesday evening, everyone seems to have forgotten about this visit to the wall, historic because all his predecessors avoided the place while in office given that Israel’s claim of sovereignty over the wall is widely disputed.

Other aspects of his trip were also suddenly all but forgotten on Tuesday, such as the way it’s part of a three-legged religious-themed expedition — Saudi Arabia, Rome and the Holy Land. All of this fell to the wayside when credible reports suggested that Israel had been the source of the intelligence that Trump passed to Russia.

Nathan Jeffay in Jerusalem


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