Israel will be hosting US President Barack Obama for a three day trip this week. President Obama is billing the journey as a “listening trip” in which he will hear concerns be Israelis and Palestinians. Obama stressed that no decision making regarding the issues of the Middle East will be made yet.
The trip comes at an important time in the Middle East. The UN just issued a condemnation of Israel’s continued settlements in disputed territories. Both the US and Israeli governments are concerned about political upheaval in Egypt and civil war in Syria. Although the region is rich in strife, a recent poll conducted in the US found the highest support for Israel among the general public since the 1970s, with 64% of respondents supporting Israel, 12% supporting Palestine and 24% undecided. It’s not just the US and Middle East that is changing. Israel is settling into its new government landscape on the heels of its recent election. The trip may decide US-Israel policy on important issues like Iran and terrorism for the next four years. Jewish news sources will be watching the trip closely, though most expect to be kept at arm’s length by officials from both nations.