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Jewish Journal

Obama to speak directly to Israelis on visit to Jewish state

JTA

February 12, 2013 | 12:43 pm

President Barack Obama on Feb. 7. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

President Barack Obama on Feb. 7. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

President Obama is scheduled to deliver an address directly to the Israeli people during his two-day visit to Israel.

The Obama administration has requested that Obama deliver his speech directly to at least 1,000 Israelis, Ynet reported Tuesday. The address will either be at the Israel Museum or the International Convention Center in Jerusalem.

Ynet reported that Obama will land at Ben Gurion International Airport at noon on March 20, according to the itinerary set by Jerusalem and Washington. He will be welcomed with a state reception, including speeches by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, and then will speak himself. Obama will move on to Jerusalem and the president's residence, where there will be another official welcoming ceremony.

At the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, Obama is scheduled to lay a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance accompanied by Netanyahu and Peres. At Mount Herzl he will lay wreaths at the tomb of Zionism visionary Theodor Herzl and at the grave of the slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Later that day, Netanyahu and Obama will meet for official discussions and have a joint news conference and dinner.

The following day, Obama is scheduled to travel to Ramallah in the West Bank to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Following the meeting, Obama will view the Dead Sea Scrolls and visit an exhibit in the Israel Museum highlighting Israeli developments in technological fields and agriculture, according to Ynet. Following his speech, he will have dinner with Peres.

On March 22, Obama will have breakfast with Netanyahu before visiting an Iron Dome battery and the soldiers who work on it. He then will travel to Jordan.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai is working to have Obama speak in Rabin Square in his city.

An Israeli Facebook initiative called Speak for Peace, asking that Obama present an address in the square where Rabin was assassinated during a peace rally, has garnered more than 8,000 likes.

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