Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has instructed Israel’s Foreign Ministry to require that foreign dignitaries coming to the country include a visit to the Kosel Hamaarovi as part of their official state trip.
“This is a statement of intention which strengthens the position of Yerushalayim as the capital of Israel,” Hotovely said.
Current protocol for visiting foreign dignitaries requires them to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum and the grave of Theodor Herzl. According to estimates, only half of all official visits include the Kosel, with many foreign leaders shying away from the site due to political concerns.
“If they will refuse, we will try to convince them. The real change is that the Kosel was never a priority for the Foreign Ministry until today,” Hotovely said.
This week, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Rantzi is scheduled to visit Israel. Hotovely said she will personally escort the Italian leader on a tour of the Kosel and Yerushalayim’s Old City.