(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said three security issues will take top priority during his meetings with President Barack Obama on his visit, expected to begin on March 20.
“We are in the midst of preparations for the U.S. president’s visit, which will center around three major issues,” Netanyahu said at the opening of Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “The first item is Iran’s advancement toward obtaining a nuclear weapon. Unfortunately, their progress continues and Iran has even accelerated their nuclear activities as of late. The second topic will be the Syrian government's collapse. Finally, we will discuss reigniting the peace process with the Palestinians. During Obama’s scheduled visit, we will discuss the issues that play the most important role in maintaining Israel's security and future.”
Obama’s Israel trip is scheduled to last 48 hours, including his stop in Ramallah. Obama is slated to visit President Shimon Peres’s Jerusalem residence, the Prime Minister’s Residence, and the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum. It has not yet been determined where the U.S. president will make a speech, though he has requested to speak to citizens, not the Knesset.
Meanwhile, dozens of activists who support the release of Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a life sentence in the U.S. for delivering classified information to Israel, demonstrated outside the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Sunday while Peres was hosting a number of U.S. senators. Peres is expected to raise the issue of releasing Pollard with Obama while he is visiting. Peres recently met with Pollard’s wife, Esther, and also with members of the Justice for Pollard Committee. He pledged to work for Pollard’s release.
Esther Pollard, who is expected to visit the Knesset on Monday to meet with Knesset members from various factions, said on Sunday, “I am asking the president and prime minister to work with Obama to save my husband. After 28 years in prison, the tragedy must stop before there won’t be anything left to save.”