Obama with Wall's rabbi
Photo: AFP

US is Israel's true friend, says Obama at Western Wall

Democratic presidential hopeful rounds up visit to Israel by praying at holiest Jewish site, meeting with Wall's rabbi. America, he stresses, will continue to look out for Israel's security needs

US Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama arrived at the Western Wall Thursday, before leaving Israel in favor for the European leg of his political tour.


Obama placed a note within the Wall's stones and read a chapter from the Book of Psalms with the Western Wall rabbi, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz.


America loves Israel and the Jewish people and will stab be the Jewish people, he said, standing at the Wall. The US, he added, will continue to look out for Israel's security need and is Israel's true friend.


The presidential hopeful's visit to the Western Wall was initially planned for Wednesday night, but was postponed due to his tight schedule. Given the great number of people who visit the Wall for morning prayer, Obama was asked to visit the holy place in the early hours of the morning, and was reportedly happy to oblige.


Arriving at 5 am, Obama – followed by a slew of reporters – donned a white kippa (skull-cap) and met with the Wall's rabbi, who explained to him the historic and religious significance of the place.


"I explained to him how this holy place is what connects every Jew all of the Jewish people's past generations," Rabbi Rabinowitz told Ynet.  

Praying at the Western Wall (Photo: AFP)


The only interruption to the otherwise calm visit was by extreme-right activist Itamar Ben-Gvir, who shouted "Jerusalem is not for sale!" at the senator's entourage.


Wednesday's leg of the visit saw Obama visit Yad Vashem, as well as meet with President Shimon Peres, Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.


Olmert and Obama's meeting covered a range of topics, but the Iranian nuclear threat headed the day. Obama reiterated his commitment to focus on the matter alongside Israel.


The prime minister later said that he was under the impression that was "well aware of the problems posed by the Iranian nuclear program."


פרסום ראשון: 07.24.08, 08:20
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