President Obama's Israel visit highlights common goals and a rare friendship
President Obama will be welcomed in Israel today by a spirit of friendship built on shared values, opposition to a pursuit of nuclear weapons by Iran, and commitment to a peaceful solution with the Palestinians. Such cooperation is not common in the Middle East.
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And then there is the existential threat Israel has had to face since the day the nation was born some 65 years ago, manifest in the expressed desire of enemies in the region who have vowed to wipe the country off the face of the earth, a threat that arguably no other nation in the world has been forced to endure for so many years.Skip to next paragraph
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In his conversations with Israeli leaders, Obama will likely discuss one of the most urgent matters impacting the safety of the world today: Iran and its pursuit of nuclear weapons capability. The Iranian regime is, in fact, arguably close to achieving this, something that is a source of deep and urgent concern for leaders in America, Israel, and Europe.
World bodies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Security Council have also recognized this threat, and moved to place sanctions against Tehran for their reckless pursuit. There is almost no difference of agreement between Israeli, American, and European leaders on when Iran could come to possess such weapons capability.
The world should stand today against this very real danger, which poses a threat not only to the peace and stability of Israel and the Middle East, but to the entire community of nations.
At home, Israel continues to desire peace with its neighbors and to find a solution with the Palestinians that will allow for the existence of two separate nation states, living side by side in peace and security. In the same vein, we look forward to a day when we can live in harmony with the countries around us. Until that day arrives, however, we must continue to be vigilant, safeguarding the security and well-being of our citizens.
It is in this spirit – one of friendship and shared values, of a common commitment to oppose an Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons, and of hope for a lasting, peaceful solution to the conflict between Israel and her neighbors – that President Obama will be welcomed in Israel today.
Shai Bazak is the Consul General of Israel to New England.