For the next two days, this blog will focus on President Obama’s visit to Israel that began 5 hours ago. As regular readers of this blog know, your humble servant has been no fan of President Obama through the years. In particular, his attempt to isolate Israel during the first three years of his first term in office were reprehensible and destructive to Israel.
Today’s visit seems to have started on the right foot–and should have been the way his first term began. What is being said behind closed doors is not known, but here are President Obama’s remarks at Ben Gurion this afternoon:
“To the people of Israel thank you for this incredibly warm welcome. Tov lachzor l’Israel od pam (It’s good to return to Israel again).
I’m so honored to be here as you prepare to celebrate the 65th anniversary of a free and independent State of Israel. Yet I know that in stepping foot on this land, I walk with you on the historic homeland of the Jewish people.
More than 3,000 years ago, the Jewish people lived here, tended the land here, prayed to God here. And after centuries of exile and persecution, unparalleled in the history of man, the founding of the Jewish State of Israel was a rebirth, a redemption unlike any in history.
Today, the sons of Abraham and the daughters of Sarah are fulfilling the dream of the ages — to be masters of their own fate in their own sovereign state. And just as we have for these past 65 years, the United States is proud to stand with you as your strongest ally and your greatest friend.
As I begin my second term as President, Israel is the first stop on my first foreign trip. This is no accident. Across this region the winds of change bring both promise and peril.
So I see this visit as an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bonds between our nations, to restate America’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security, and to speak directly to the people of Israel and to your neighbors.
I am confident in declaring that our alliance is eternal, is forever.”
It would have been nice to hear these comments four years ago instead of the ones we heard in Cairo. It will be interesting to hear what Obama says to Abu Mazen, the PLO, and the Palestinians when he gets to Ramallah and Bethlehem.
Finally, one gentle reminder to the President: not all of the Jewish people were exiled and redeemed; some Jews have lived continuously in the land of Israel for at least the last 3300 years.
Continue checking back to israelstreet throughout the day for updates.