The White House announced on Thursday that President Trump would visit Israel later this month as part of his first foreign tour as president. Israel’s Channel 2 News went on to report that the White House’s travel team had asked if the president could give a speech at Masada, the ancient desert fortress where hundreds of Jewish rebels held out against Roman sieges for three years before committing mass suicide rather than submitting to slavery.
While Trump has never visited Israel before, he is apparently familiar with Masada and its history. Eran Sidis, the spokesman for Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, tweeted on Thursday that during a meeting with Trump six years ago, the real estate tycoon discussed with Edelstein, then the Minister of Information and Diaspora Affairs, the possibility of holding his Miss Universe pageant on the mountain.
While the Masada complex is often used for concerts and Israeli Defense Forces induction ceremonies, and former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton both toured the fortress while on official visits, no American president has ever made a formal speech there before.
The White House has not yet confirmed any specific locations in Israel that Trump will visit.