[Ed – This would have very interesting symbolism indeed.]
President Trump’s first trip abroad as president may include a speech at the highly symbolic ancient Jewish fortress of Masada, Israeli media outlets reported Thursday, after the White House announced a visit later this month to Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Vatican, Italy and Belgium.
The White House said Trump has accepted invitations from Saudi King Salman to visit the kingdom for a summit with Muslim leaders; from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin to visit Israel; and from Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas for a meeting – presumably in the Palestinian self-rule areas although no venue was given. …
If true, the plan will likely draw a mixed response in a region anxious to learn how Trump plans to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian peace puzzle. The desert hilltop overlooking the Dead Sea, where a group of Jewish Zealots besieged by the Romans in the 1st century AD took their lives rather than accept defeat and slavery, has for Israelis long symbolized the indomitable spirit of a people surrounded by enemies.
In a tradition attributed to Moshe Dayan, some Israeli soldiers take an oath of loyalty to the state, either atop Masada or at the Western Wall or another symbolic location, concluding with a famous phrase from a 1927 epic poem by Yitzhak Lamdan, “Masada shall not fall again.”