President Trump is nixing a stop at Masada from his Israel trip itinerary, after the country’s authorities told him he could not land his helicopter on top of the ancient fortress.
The regulation comes from Israel’s Air Force, which prohibits helicopter landings due to the damage they can inflict on the site’s ruins.
Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton toured Masada, but landed their aircraft at the fortress’ base and rode up in a cable car. Trump opted to nix the stop and instead give a speech at the Israel Museum.
“Well Masada was too hot, so we found a great spot instead for POTUS,” Eitan Weiss, a spokesman for the Israeli government, wrote on Twitter. “@IsraelMuseum. The Dead Sea Scrolls make an important setting.”
Masada was the place where the last Jewish rebels against Rome holed up in the first century C.E. According to legend, the soldiers there committed mass suicide instead of surrender to the great empire.