Obama will tell Israelis: take Arab opinion into account


WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama plans to talk in Jerusalem about how Israel needs to do a better job of taking Arab public opinion into account, an Obama adviser said.

"Israel as it makes peace is going to have recognize the broader role of public opinion in peacemaking," Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, said Thursday in a briefing ahead of Obama’s trip next week to israel, the West Bank and Jordan. Rhodes was answering a question about how the turmoil in the Arab world would play into Obama’s message.

In the briefing, Rhodes confirmed that in addition to meeting with leaders and visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, Obama will tour exhibits of the Dead Sea scrolls and Israeli technological innovations at the Israel Museum. Rhodes called the scrolls "a testament to the ancient Jewish connection to Israel."

He said Obama would address Israeli youth in his single major address in Jerusalem because that traditionally has been his preference; he noted that Obama addressed a university audience when he spoke in Cairo in 2009.

Obama also will visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Rhodes said.

Obama will be in Israel March 20-22 and in Jordan on March 22-23.

Recommended from JTA