Barack Obama Visits Holocaust Memorial and Yitzhak Rabin's Grave

Emotional Coda to Historic Presidential Trip to Jewish State

Solemn Moment: President Obama lays a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.
getty images
Solemn Moment: President Obama lays a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

By Reuters

Published March 22, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

But in a speech on Wednesday, he has also urged Israelis to push their political leaders to take risks and secure peace with the Palestinians, calling on his audience of university students to put themselves in the shoes of their occupied neighbours.

Winning applause in Jerusalem, the president received a cooler reception on Thursday during talks in the West Bank with Palestinians, who are disappointed Washington is not applying more pressure on Israel to halt settlement activity.

Obama has reiterated to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that settlement building in the West Bank, land the Palestinians want as part of a future state, was detrimental to peace efforts.

But he retreated from the overt calls during his first term for a halt to the building and he has offered no new peace initiative during his trip, saying he had just come to listen.

After a final round of talks with Netanyahu on Friday, he will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas again when he visits to the West Bank city of Bethlehem to see the Church of the Nativity, where Christians believe Jesus was born.

The tour is seen as a message of solidarity to dwindling Christian communities in a turbulent region.

ARAB SPRING

Obama will then head to Amman where he hopes to reassure Abdullah of Washington’s support at a time when it is flooded with refugees from Syria and battling economic difficulties and tensions from the “Arab Spring”, aides say.

Obama and Abdullah will discuss the spillover of the Syrian conflict to Jordan, where an influx of more than 350,000 refugees has strained resources.

Obama backs the Syrian opposition’s effort to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but has limited its support to non-lethal aid to anti-government rebels despite growing calls from European and Gulf Arab allies to take a stronger tack.

The king has taken a mostly cautious line on Syria, calling for Assad to go, but advocating a political solution and not arming the Syrian leader’s foes. Jordanian authorities worry that any emergence of Islamist rule in a post-Assad Syria could embolden Islamists who are the main opposition group in Jordan.

Also on the agenda will be the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jordan is one of only two Arab states - Egypt is the other - to have signed peace treaties with Israel and is seen as a potential player in any future U.S.-led peace push. It also has a majority Palestinian population.

The state of Jordan’s troubled economy, which receives nearly $360 million in U.S. economic assistance, will also be on the agenda.

Obama will encourage Abdullah to press ahead with a programme of economic and political reform. Jordan has been the scene of mostly peaceful street protests, rather than the uprisings that have shaken other Arab countries, and the king has responded with cautious steps toward democracy


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.