In a bizarre interview, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has suggested that US President Donald Trump was sent by God to save Israel from Iran.
During his visit to Israel on Thursday, Pompeo gave an exclusive interview to the Christian Broadcasting Network, described as "part policy, part politics, and part spiritual".
Asked whether or not President Trump was a modern day equivalent to biblical figure Queen Esther, who persuaded the King of Persia not to murder the Jews, Pompeo said that he was "confident" the Lord was at work.
He said: "As a Christian, I certainly believe that's possible. It was remarkable — so we were down in the tunnels [under the Old City of Jerusalem] where we could see 3,000 years ago, and 2,000 years ago — if I have the history just right — to see the remarkable history of the faith in this place and the work that our administration's done to make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state remains. I am confident that the Lord is at work here."
On Thursday, Jewish people across the world were celebrating Purim, which honours the story of Queen Esther persuading her husband Xerxes I not to murder Jews.
This comes as President Trump voiced his support for recognising the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory. He tweeted: "After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!"
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described President Trump's comments on the Golan Heights as a "Purim miracle".
He continued: "First, he recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moved the embassy here. Then he pulled out of the disastrous Iran treaty and reimposed sanctions. But now he did something of equal historic importance: he recognized Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights".
The Golan Heights were captured from Syria during the Six Day War of 1967 and has been occupied by Israel ever since.