Giant billboards and posters proclaiming “Trump is a friend of Zion” and showing the Israeli and American flags intertwined will greet President Donald Trump as he arrives in Jerusalem.
The 42 signs—which implore Trump to “Make Israel Great”—have been put up around the city by the Friends of Zion Museum at a cost of around $100,000, Haaretz reported.
The founder of the museum is U.S. Christian evangelist Mike Evans, a strong opponent of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a fierce supporter of Trump.
Evans paid for the billboards in a bid to remind Trump of his promises during the presidential campaign, most prominently the pledge to to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“Donald Trump won the election because of a historic evangelical voter turnout — the largest in American history. Evangelicals tend not to be monolithic except on two issues —the Supreme Court and Israel,” a spokeswoman for Evans said in a statement.
“President Trump promised us he would recognize Jerusalem and move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. We wholeheartedly believe that this promise is non-negotiable and will happen while he is president,” she added.
Evans was one of Trump’s first backers in the evangelical community during his campaign and sits on his evangelical advisory board.
In a 2012 interview with the Jerusalem Post, Evans claimed to have jump-started Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s career. He said he mentioned current leader to former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in a meeting, leading to Netanyahu gaining a position with the Israeli embassy in Washington.
The evangelist has said he believes the meeting between Trump and Netanyahu represents a “historic peace opportunity” because both men are individuals of “moral clarity”.
The president is due to arrive at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport from Saudi Arabia at 12:15 p.m. (5:15 a.m. EST), the White House has said. He will then travel to Jerusalem where he will visit the Western Wall and meet with Netanyahu in the evening.
The Trump administration has faced difficulty in arranging the president’s visit to Israel, particularly over the issue of Jerusalem.
Trouble began to brew over the trip when a U.S. state department official preparing the visit said Israel had no jurisdiction over the Western Wall.
The holiest site in the Jewish faith, it lies in Jerusalem’s Old City, which was captured with the rest of east Jerusalem by Israeli forces during the Six Day War in 1967.
The annexation of the city has not been recognized by the international community and is considered part of the West Bank. Israel claims the whole of Jerusalem, including the Western Wall, as part of its indivisible capital.