What Obama can accomplish in Israel

Despite low expectations, Obama has a long to-do list

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
(Image credit: Kobi Gideon /GPO via Getty Images)

On his first visit to Israel since taking office, President Obama started off by declaring America's enduring support for its closest ally in the Middle East. "I see this visit as an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between our nations, to restate America's unwavering commitment to Israel's security," Obama said during a red-carpet welcoming ceremony at Tel Aviv's airport. "Our alliance is eternal." Obama joked with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he was just happy to get away from Congress, but the president is expected to use the three-day trip to make a fresh start in his sometimes tense relationship with Israeli leaders, and rekindle peace talks with the Palestinians. He'll meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank on Thursday.

Obama only just arrived, but his "visit to Israel has got off on the right foot," says Mark Mardell at BBC News. He and Netanyahu "fell over themselves to be nice" to each other on the red carpet, which bodes well for a trip mostly meant to simply "rebuild bridges, re-establish relationships." Netanyahu said it was generous of Obama, the leader of what he called "the world's greatest democracy," to go out of his way to visit "a somewhat smaller democracy" on the first overseas trip of his second term.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us
Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of TheWeek.com when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.