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That Time Donald Trump Wanted To Hold The Miss Universe Pageant At Masada

(JTA) — When Donald Trump makes his first visit as president to Israel later this month, he’s reportedly aiming to give a speech at the ancient mountain fortress of Masada.

We don’t yet know if he’ll ascend the mount, a palace built by the Judean king Herod the Great which became the last Jewish holdout nearly 2,000 years ago against a conquering Roman army.

But this isn’t the first time the real estate mogul and former reality TV star has wanted to put on an event amid Masada’s ruins. The Atlantic reports this week that in 2011, Trump wanted to host the Miss Universe Pageant there, according to Eran Sidis, the Knesset speaker’s chief of staff.

Masada, whose last Jewish inhabitants in 73 C.E. committed mass suicide to avoid surrender, is best known today as a tourist destination.

And it’s a deeply symbolic destination for members of Israel’s Nahal Brigade, who mark the completion of basic training with a 12-hour hike from their base to Masada’s top.

Sidis tweeted that Trump, who owned the pageant until 2015, saw the location as good PR, though it’s unclear whether he meant good PR for Israel or the pageant.

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