JERUSALEM (RNS) Hoping for divine intervention – or Jewish votes – Donald Trump wrote a short prayer to be inserted in between the stones of the Western Wall.
Trump’s team photographed and sent a copy of the handwritten prayer to Ynet News and Yedioth Ahronoth, Israeli sister publications. The original was handed to David Faiman, a Trump advisor, who was heading to Israel, the news outlets reported.
“May you bless the United States, our armed forces and our allies. May your guiding hand protect and strengthen our great nation,” the GOP presidential candidate’s prayer said.
It is traditional for visitors to the ancient Western Wall to insert prayers and messages into the cracks between its stones. Known in Hebrew as the Kotel, the wall is holy to Jews because it is a remnant of the retaining wall that once surrounded the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in the year 70.
Those who cannot go to the wall sometimes ask friends or family to deliver their prayers. Various Israeli non-profit organizations run free delivery services.
Trump, a Christian, decided to write the note following a conversation with his daughter Ivanka, a modern-Orthodox convert to Judaism, according to Ynet.
His presidential campaign has been flagging for weeks and a majority of U.S. Jews favor his challenger, Hillary Clinton. The Republican candidate has also been criticized for failing to disavow anti-Semitic statements by some of his followers.
But David Weissman, an American citizen and Trump supporter who lives in Israel, believes the note shows that Trump “respects Jewish tradition and prayer, and acknowledges the Kotel belongs to the Jewish people and he believes in God.”
(Michele Chabin is RNS’ Jerusalem correspondent)