Kenyan President William Ruto prayed at the Western Wall on Tuesday, a move not typically made by visiting heads of state.
Nairobi does not officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and has its embassy in Tel Aviv, though a senior adviser to Ruto, Dennis Nthumbi, called Jerusalem the capital of Israel on a visit to the Temple Mount this week.
Ruto visited the Western Wall, and his predecessor, Uhuru Kenyatta, did so twice, in 2016 and 2020.
Ruto, an Evangelical Christian, said a prayer that the people of Kenya and Israel “be united in peace as one people at the Kotel.”
The Kenyan president was accompanied by former Likud MK Rabbi Yehudah Glick, known as an activist for equal prayer rights on the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in Judaism and the site of the Al Aksa Mosque. Officially, only Muslims are permitted to pray on the mount.
Other highlights of the visit
Earlier this week, Glick brought a senior adviser to Rut, Dennis Nthumbi, to the Temple Mount.
“This morning with the guidance of the Jewish Priest Rabbi Yehudah Glick, we ascended Zion to pray for His Excellency and for Kenya,” Nthumbi wrote on Facebook.
In a video posted from the Temple Mount on Monday, with the golden Dome of the Rock in view, Nthumbi prayed to “God almighty, the God of Israel, the God of Abraham that he may strengthen the reign of His Excellency William Samoei Ruto, that no enemy be able to stand against him…and that Kenya will rise again from the economic ashes…
that the people of Kenya be a free nation that will look up to the God of Israel, Hashem…That God, Hashem will bless the nation and His Excellency.”
Glick prayed that Ruto “will take advantage of this visit to strengthen cooperation…with Israel but also to recognize the capital of the State of Israel, Jerusalem.”
“Yes, Jerusalem,” Nthumbi said.
Ruto met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who praised the Kenyan president’s commitment to expanding ties with Israel.
The leaders agreed to cooperate in the areas of trade, technology, cybersecurity and reestablishing direct flights between their countries.
Kenyan Foreign Minister Alfred Nganga Mutua met with his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen on Monday.
Cohen called Kenya “a significant African player and an important factor on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors.”
He also expressed appreciation for Kenya’s support for Israel in international organizations.