President Obama visited Israel this past week for the first time since his election as president. His last visit to Israel was in 2008 as the senator of Illinois. After Obama descended from the steps of Air Force One, he addressed the Prime Minister and several high ranking Israeli officials. In his speech he affirmed the Jewish people’s claim to Israel, citing their 3,000 year history in the land of Israel. He also stated that the Jewish people were entitled to a sovereign state to ensure that atrocities such as the holocaust will not occur again. After his address, the President was taken for a short trip to a battery of the Iron Dome, a missile defense system funded heavily by the United States, which was moved from its original location to Ben-Gurion airport so he could inspect it.
The general theme of Obama’s trip was designed to convey the message that the United States will always stand with Israel, and that the United States views Israel as an indispensable ally. President Obama planted a magnolia tree in Israeli President Shimon Peres’s Jerusalem Garden, reaffirming the relationship between the two leaders. While he met with both Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama repeatedly took the stand saying that he did not come to bring a new proposal for peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.