Friday 19 April 2019
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business-standard - 29 days ago

Pompeo visits Western Wall with Netanyahu in break with diplomatic practice

US top diplomat Mike Pompeo became the first high-ranking American official to visit the Western Wall with an Israeli prime minister on Thursday, providing another boost to Benjamin Netanyahu s re-election campaign. Two experienced former US diplomats could not recall such a senior US official visiting the site with an Israeli premier. It could be taken as tacit approval of Israel s sovereignty over the site, one of the holiest in Judaism and located in mainly Palestinian east Jerusalem. The visit comes less than three weeks before Israel s April 9 elections in which Netanyahu is facing a tough challenge from a centrist alliance led by a former military chief of staff, Benny Gantz. Netanyahu is also due to visit Washington and meet with his close ally US President Donald Trump twice next week. On Thursday afternoon, Netanyahu and Pompeo, along with US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, approached the wall together, placing a hand on it before depositing prayers on slips of paper, as

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