Obama headed to Israel

Sunday, June 29, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

Presumptive US Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama will visit Israel as part of a five-nation foreign policy tour prior to the Democratic National Convention in late August.

The Illinois senator will also visit neighboring Jordan, as well as Britain, Germany and France, all nations that the Obama campaign identified as "critical to American national security."

According to a campaign statement, Obama plans to discuss terrorism, nuclear proliferation and climate change with his foreign hosts.

The candidate's visit to Israel especially is seen as an opportunity to strengthen his foreign policy credentials, which many voters say are severely lacking in comparison to those of his opponent, presumptive Republican nominee John McCain.

Obama also hopes to boost his support among American Jews, who despite the community's tendency to vote Democrat are wary of his close relationships to individuals accused of being anti-Semitic and his stated intention to take a softer approach to Iranian nuclear ambitions, which threaten the Jewish state.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said it had yet to be contacted by Obama's people regarding the planned visit, but stated that the US candidate would be "a very welcome visitor."

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