Netanyahu says Syria, Iran and peace process on Obama agenda in Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama will focus on Iran, Syria and advancing the peace process when Obama visits Israel.

Netanyahu at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday said he and Obama had "discussed the visit" and agreed on the subjects on which they will focus during their talks: Iran’s attempt to arm itself with nuclear weapons; the unstable situation in Syria and its consequences for the security of the region; and efforts to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Israel leader said Obama’s planned visit to Israel next month is "welcome."

"This will be a very important visit that will emphasize the strong alliance between Israel and the U.S.," Netanyahu said. "I think that the importance of this alliance stands out even more given what is happening, in light of the great revolutions, the earthquakes that are taking place around us throughout the Middle East, from the Atlantic Ocean and North Africa and eastwards to Iran."

The seriousness of the issues to be discussed "require as broad a national unity as possible, the harnessing of all forces in the State of Israel," Netanyahu said, "and this is the nature of our efforts at this time to form a government."

Netanyahu was charged a week ago with forming a government coalition following the Jan. 22 elections and has up to six weeks to present a government to the Knesset for approval.

Obama said last week that he will visit Israel as part of a regional visit.

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