Israeli Media Skeptical of Obama Trip

(CBS)
From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

(JERSUALEM) Barack Obama spent the morning reaffirming his support for Israel at the first of a long list of meetings with high level leaders. Wearing a blue and white striped tie, Israel's colors, Obama posed for pictures with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and later with Likud Party leader - and Former Prime Minister - Benjamin Netanyahu.

He later visited Yad Vashem, a Holocaust memorial museum, where he laid a wreath at the Hall of Remembrance. Obama wore a white yarmulke and looked somberly at a stone slab covering the ashes of Holocaust victims, as photographers snapped pictures.

However, despite these attempts to show that he is a friend of Israel, some local news reports this morning questioned the sincerity of Obama's overall visit. The headline on the front page of the widely read newspaper "Haaretz" read: "Obama Visiting Israel to Impress Jewish voters, Not Israelis."

"Barack Hussein Obama - with his Muslim stepfather and his childhood in Indonesia, his suggestion to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the leftist image that adheres to his advisors - has raised deep anxieties among the Jewish establishment," reporter Aluf Benn wrote adding that both of John McCain's previous visits to Israel and Obama's visit are aimed solely at courting Jewish voters in the U.S.

The conservative newspaper, "Jerusalem Post" described Obama's experience in the Middle East as "limited," but argued that he could still be a friend of Israel.

"Many of the best friends Israel ever had in the White House had even less experience than Obama before being elected to that office," the newspaper argued noting that both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton had little foreign affairs experience but proved to be strong supporters of Israel.

"There's a lot of interest in Obama," a senior aide said in response to the both editorials, "It's pretty standard." Despite the fact that a noticeably large number of Israeli reporters and photographers have been on Obama's trail since he arrived last night, the campaign maintains that they are not specifically targeting the local media.
  • Maria Gavrilovic

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