When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Obama Lands In Israel: "Peace Must Come To The Holy Land"



JERUSALEM - Barack Obama landed in Israel on Wednesday for his first trip as U.S. president. He was greeted at Ben Gurion Airport by President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to the Times of Israel, President Peres welcomed Obama "with open arms," saying: "Thank you Mr. President, thank you America. Thank you for what you are. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for the hopes you carry with you."

Peres added: " A world without America’s leadership, without her moral voice, your moral voice, would be a darker world."

Netanyahu talked of Israel's desire "for a stable and a secure peace," adding, "I look forward to working with you."

Obama started his speech in Hebrew, saying "Tov lihyot ba’aretz" – It's good to be in Israel again. "The United States is proud to stand with you," he said.

The Times of Israel reports that Obama spoke of "the winds of change" and new opportunities in the region. He said the U.S. and Israel "stand together because we share a common story" – share the goals of freedom, the tradition of bringing in immigrants from every corner of the world.

The US President even noted how both countries are leaders in high-tech innovation.

“We stand together because peace must come to the holy land,” he concluded.

Twitter greeted Obama's arrival with the usual high and low:

Obama overheard telling Bibi: good to get away from Congress

— Chemi Shalev (@ChemiShalev) March 20, 2013

Airforce 1 lands in Israel #bbcobama twitter.com/BBCMarkMardell…

— Mark Mardell (@BBCMarkMardell) March 20, 2013

I really think they are all wearing the same tie. #obamainisrael twitter.com/sheeraf/status…

— Sheera Frenkel (@sheeraf) March 20, 2013

According to Ynet, 15,000 police – over half of Israel’s police force – will participate in efforts to secure President Obama, with more than 5,000 officers alone involved in protecting the presidential entourage.

Obama’s three-day visit will include a visit to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and Bethlehem, a visit to the Yad Vashem foundation and laying a wreath at former Prime Minister Ytzhak Rabin’s grave. The president has said he is not going to the region bearing “a grand peace plan.”

In an exclusive interview last week with Israel’s Channel 2 TV, Obama said: “What this trip allows me to do, I think, is once again have a chance to connect with the Israeli people.”

“My goal on this trip is to listen. I intend to meet with Bibi (Netanyahu) … I intend to meet with Fayyad and Abu Mazen (Abbas) and to hear from them what is their strategy, what is their vision, where do they think this should go?

He also said he will tell Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that he must work with Israel, rather than "trying to unilaterally go to, for example, the United Nations, and do an end run around Israel, is not going to be successful."

"To Bibi (Netanyahu) I would suggest to him that he should have an interest in strengthening the moderate leadership inside the Palestinian Authority ...For example, making sure that issues like settlements are viewed through the lens of: Is this making it harder or easier for Palestinian moderates to sit down at the table," added Obama.

Watch the interview:

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

This Happened — September 28: Brigitte Bardot Born

On this day in 1934, French actress and iconic sex symbol Brigitte Bardot was born.

Get This Happened straight to your inbox ✉️ each day! Sign up here.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest