Trump becomes first sitting U.S. president to visit the Western Wall

Last Updated May 22, 2017 10:36 AM EDT

President Trump on Monday became the first sitting American president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem, which is considered Judaism's holiest site.

Mr. Trump was seen placing a note inside the wall as he visited the mens-only side -- a tradition visitors can partake in by writing a prayer or request and placing it in one of the wall's cracks. Meanwhile, first lady Melania Trump was seen standing in front of the small portion of the wall devoted to women.

President Obama had visited the holy site in Jerusalem's Old City when he was a presidential candidate, but not during his official White House visit to Israel.

The Trump administration has caused a stir within Israel over the last week after a person on the advance team told Israeli officials that the wall was in the West Bank. Top administration officials, except U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, are refusing to say it's in Israel. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was asked en route to Tel Aviv whether he agrees with Haley's characterization of where the wall is located.

"The wall is part of Jerusalem," Tillerson said.

The U.S. has not officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital because government officials have wanted the status of Jerusalem determined by Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. The president is scheduled to meet next with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later Monday, and the two will deliver remarks. 

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.