Obama to Give Major Speech in Jerusalem
A highlight of President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel next week will be a major speech in Jerusalem — with an audience full of students — where he will speak directly to Israelis for the first time.
That’s just one stop of Obama’s first foreign trip of his second term, designed to show — through substance and symbolism — the ironclad U.S. commitment to Israel, as the nation faces a potential nuclear threat from Iran and conflicts in Egypt and Syria threaten Israeli security.
The speech will give Obama an opportunity to bypass often critical Israeli media and hostile political figures during his first trip to Israel as president.
The U.S. Embassy in Israel is running an essay contest on Facebook, with up to 20 winners “who submit the most original and creative responses” to be invited to the speech, the embassy website said.
I wrote earlier this month how the visit — coming after Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election victories — give the leaders a chance to reset their strained relationship. Netanyahu was seen as a Mitt Romney supporter while Obama had to continuously prove his pro-Israel credentials during his campaign.
Obama’s swing includes Israel, the West Bank and Jordan. Obama has met with U.S. Arab-American and Jewish leaders in separate sessions in recent weeks to discuss his trip.