Today President Obama arrived in Israel for his first official visit to the Jewish State since being elected to high office in 2008. His trip, while lauded by many as a continuing sign of the important relationship shared between the United States and Israel, is also circumspect to those who consider this President’s approach towards Israel as less than amicable. But whichever side of the debate one chooses to support, it is increasingly clear that President Obama’s brief journey to the Holy Land is as much about where he is visiting as it is about where he is not.
Topping the agenda, the President will on Thursday address a group of mostly Israeli university students at Jerusalem’s convention center. The speech, which is said to be the main reason for this trip is already garnering considerable criticism for those who are and are not invited to attend it. On Friday, he is scheduled to visit YadVashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial, and mount Herzl where he will lay wreaths in recognition of modern-day Zionism at the grave of its founding father Theodore Herzl, and that of the late Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. Missing from the President’s route will most notably be the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, nor will he address or visit the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, as the four previous Presidents to visit Israel have, both of which are customary for many visiting dignitaries. Read the rest of this entry »