JERUSALEM – Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Jerusalem's Western Wall on Monday, slipping a note between the stones before heading to a memorial service for assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Children threw candy toward Clinton as she posed with women celebrating their sons' Bar Mitzvahs — a Jewish rite of passage — at the Western Wall. A blue shawl draped around her shoulders, the New York Democrat spent a few solitary moments before the massive structure but did not reveal the contents of her note.
Many Jews believe that pleas placed between the stones of the holy site will be answered by God.
A well-known shrine in Jerusalem's Old City, the Western Wall is revered by Jews as the retaining wall of the second biblical temple. It is adjacent to the Temple Mount, home to the Al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques, which are deeply venerated by Muslims.
The holy sites, and who will exercise sovereignty over them, are one of the thorniest disputes in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Later, Clinton toured an Israeli fire station and ambulance service. At the Jerusalem station of Magen David Adom — Israel's equivalent of the Red Cross — officials presented her with a personalized field officer's vest and implored her to hang it in the Oval Office one day. She smiled but did not respond to the suggestion.
Clinton also met the parents of a rescue service volunteer killed three years ago while doing reserve duty in the Israeli army. The parents of the volunteer, Yochai Porat, presented Clinton with a framed picture of the former first lady and their son, whom she had met just two weeks before he was killed.
Later, Clinton met Amir Peretz, the new leader the Labor Party, and attended the service for Rabin, who was gunned down 10 years ago by an ultranationalist Israeli.
Clinton did not go to the Palestinian territories or meet any Palestinian officials during her three-day visit to the region.
"This is a very short trip and it has focused on two issues — one the Rabin commemoration, and the other U.S.-Israeli security arrangements," Clinton said.
Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, traveled to Amman for a few hours late Sunday to pay their respects to Jordan's King Abdullah II after 57 people were killed in a triple bombing there last week.