U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry and his wife began their official — and first — visit to the State of Israel with a stop on Sunday at the Western Wall, and the Western Wall Tunnels in the Old City of Jerusalem.
The Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, greeted the Secretary along with the Israeli Energy Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz, and the Director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, Mordechai (Suli) Eliav.
The Rabbi recited Psalms Chapter 121 together with the Secretary, who also placed a note between the stones of the Western Wall.
Rabbi Rabinowitz told the Secretary there was great symbolism to his visit, falling on a day when Jews mark the Fast of the 17 of Tammuz and the beginning of the “Three Weeks” — a time when the Jewish Nation mourns the start of the siege of Jerusalem which led to the destruction of the Holy Temple — and remembers its past while praying for its future.
Secretary Perry’s visit expressed the deep connection between Israel and the United States, the Rabbi said, commenting that the site provided the spiritual energy for the Jewish Nation and for the entire world.
“Welcome to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish nation,” Minister Steinitz said. “I am sure this visit to the Western Wall will provide positive energies for this important visit to Israel.”
The Secretary toured the Western Wall Tunnels, guided by the Director of the Foundation, who showed him fascinating remnants and ancient Judaic items which tell the story of Jewish yearning for Jerusalem throughout the generations.
The visit ended at the new model of the Temple where the Secretary learned the site’s historic significance for the Jewish people. “This is a monumental moment for me and for my wife; being here is amazing. I hope our future will be as strong as our history,” the Secretary said.