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Obama to Visit Israel in March – 1st Time as President

AP

President Barack Obama will visit Israel in the spring, the White House said Tuesday, marking Obama’s first visit to the staunch U.S. ally since becoming president.

Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the visit by phone in late January, when Obama congratulated Netanyahu on his success in Israel’s recent election. The White House has not released the date of Obama’s trip or details about Obama’s itinerary, but Israel’s Channel 10 reported that a visit had been scheduled for March 20.

“The start of the president’s second term and the formation of a new Israeli government offer the opportunity to reaffirm the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel and to discuss the way forward on a broad range of issues of mutual concern, including Iran and Syria,” said National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor.

Although Obama visited the Israel while running for president in 2008, he hasn’t been back since, drawing intense criticism from some pro-Israel groups who have claimed he is insufficiently supportive of the United States’ closest ally in the Middle East. Other top administration officials, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have visited.

The trip could help repair Obama’s tarnished image in Israel, where many view him as cold to the Jewish state. Israelis vividly remember Obama’s decision not to visit when he stopped in neighboring Egypt early in his first term to deliver a speech.

“This country’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said last week. “It has been reflected in this administration’s commitment to Israel’s security, demonstrated by the very specific actions that are unprecedented that have been taken by this administration on behalf of Israel’s security.”

Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem had no immediate comment on the report of Obama’s visit.

The announcement of Obama’s visit comes at a time of uncertainty for Netanyahu, whose relationship with Obama was notoriously rocky during Obama’s first term. Netanyahu emerged weakened from January’s election but is still poised to remain prime minister if he can successfully build a governing coalition before the mid-March deadline.

4 Comments

  • 1. Here Comes Trouble wrote:

    Better he should stay away and let Israel handle her own affairs.

  • 2. declasse' intellectual wrote:

    All Bibi has to say is this: Welcome Mr. president to the land of Israel, the land that G-d gave the Jews as an eternal home according to the Bible and welcome to Jersusalem, the eternal city of King David and the erternal capital of the state of Israel as it is mentioned in the Bible.
    Does Bibi have gthe internal fortitude to say this is the question?????

  • 3. fact wrote:

    While criticized by Mitt Romney for not going, Eisenhower, JFK, Johnson, Ford, Reagan and George H.W. Bush never went. And George W. Bush only visited in the last year of his second term.

  • 4. fact#2 wrote:

    Republican presidents over the past 30+ years have visited our holy land ONCE just ONCE, and that was when Bush Jr was so unpopular during his last term he basically was on vacation or running abroad from fellow Republicans, as republicans wanted him NO WHERE NEAR the elections…

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