Speed Reads

trump in israel

Trump's trip to Israel may have made history before he even got off the plane

When President Trump landed in Israel on Monday, he may have made history before even stepping off the plane. The Associated Press noted Monday that Trump's direct flight from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv may have been the first such trip ever made with no stops.

A spokesman for the Israel Airport Authority said he was not aware of any other direct flights from Saudi Arabia to Israel. The two nations do not have diplomatic relations, as Saudi Arabia does not recognize the Jewish state. While Trump, aboard Air Force One, made the trip without any layovers, even the plane carrying the White House press corps was required to make a technical stop in Cyprus before landing in Tel Aviv.

While neither Saudi Arabia nor Israel can explicitly weigh in on the president's travel plans, the direct flight "reflects the warming relationship between them," AP notes, adding that "the two countries have reportedly developed covert ties based on their shared concerns over Iran's growing regional influence."

Later Monday, Trump made history once more, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to visit the sacred Western Wall in Jerusalem. Kimberly Alters

Update 2:39 p.m. ET: Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post points out that in 2008, former President George W. Bush made a similar direct flight between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Bush, however, departed from Israel and landed in Saudi Arabia; Trump's flight was in the reverse direction.