President Mahinda Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Wickremasinghe Rajapaksa visited religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem Wednesday (Jan. 08) afternoon. The historic Old City is home to a number of sites sacred for the Christian, Islamic and Jewish faiths.
Islamic religious leaders welcomed President Rajapaksa to the Dome of the Rock, which is one of the most sacred sites for the world's Islamic community. It is believed to be the site where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.
The President also visited the Western Wall, the Kotel, (commonly known as the Wailing Wall). One of the most sacred sites for the Jewish faith, the Western Wall is the last remains of the Temple Mount.
The visit to the Old City took place following bilateral discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier in the day. The President is on a two-day visit to Israel, following visits to Jordan and Palestine.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Monitoring MP of the Ministry of External Affairs Mr. Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, Parliamentarian Mr. Roshan Ranasinghe, Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga and several other officials joined the President at the Old City.