Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, various officials, an honor guard, and hundreds of journalists eagerly welcomed President Barack Obama when his plane landed on Wednesday, March 20, at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. After the obligatory fanfare and shaking of hands, Obama launched his speech with three seconds of Hebrew, amidst appreciative laughter and applause [transcript from video and from The Times of Israel]:
This is my third visit to Israel so let me just say tov lihiyot shuv ba’aretz. (It’s good to be in Israel again.)
Obama continued with some opening remarks and an affirmation of our continued alliance with and support for Israel:
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.
But, behind closed doors, it’s more likely that Obama and Netanyahu will be thrashing out differences regarding Iran, Palestine, and controversial Israeli settlements on the West Bank. According to The Times of Israel, the President’s itinerary includes: the Israel Museum (home to the Dead Sea Scrolls and an exhibit on technical innovations); various meetings and press conferences; a state dinner; the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum; the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem; the American consulate, Mount Herzl (to honor the graves of Israeli leaders Theodor Herzl and Yitzhak Rabin); and Ramallah (to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad, and to give a speech to young Palestinians). Notably, Obama’s itinerary does not include the West Bank.
Meanwhile, the President’s limousine — which he jokingly calls “The Beast” — was getting towed away from the airport. Apparently, the staff over at Ben Gurion are dead serious about not allowing drivers to park vehicles by the curb in the pick-up area. Either that, or somebody forgot that the limo has a diesel engine and filled her up with “regular” instead. Whoopsie! Luckily, Israel’s neighbors in Jordan had a spare, which they quickly flew over in a private plane so our president wouldn’t be stuck in the airport for too long.
Here’s the video of the President’s speech, including his three seconds of Hebrew:
|Elisabeth Parker is a writer, Web designer, mom, political junkie, and dilettante. Come visit her at ElisabethParker.Com, “like” her on facebook, “friend” her on facebook, follow her on Twitter, or check out her Pinterest boards. For more Addicting Info articles by Elisabeth, click here.|