The gimmicks keep on coming.
Monday saw another attempt to promote US
President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel, following the US Embassy’s contest
on Sunday to win seats to the president’s main public speech in
Jerusalem. Now, there’s a smartphone app to track the visit, brought to you by
the Prime Minister’s Office.
Actually, it’s an app to follow the PMO, but
everything on the website next week will probably be related to the presidential
According to the PMO, the app will feature “real-time updates,
video, photographs and behind-the-scenes glimpses at the visit. The app is
available in Hebrew and English and will soon be available in Arabic as well.”
The app also features a link for contacting the Prime Minister’s Office and
links for the various PMO new media channels including YouTube, Facebook and
“The app is another step by the PMO National information
Directorate in addition to its ongoing activities on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube,
Instagram,” the statement said.
One government official involved in the
visit said that even before Obama arrives, social media has changed the feel of
the visit. Former US president George Bush arrived here in 2008, before Twitter
and Instagram, so the atmospherics around his visit – the last by a US president
– were significantly different, he said.
Obama is the fifth sitting US
president to visit Israel, following Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton
and George W. Bush. And if you want to see pictures of those visits, all you
have to do is look at the PMO’s new app.
Obama will arrive on Wednesday, March 20, and leave on Friday, March
The following is his tentative schedule: March 20
· Noon arrival at
Ben-Gurion Airport and brief greeting ceremony. Obama will likely inspect an
Iron Dome anti-missile battery brought to the airport for the occasion · Meeting
with Shimon Peres at Beit Hanasi.
· Meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's residence.
· Press conference
at the Prime Minister's residence March 21
* Visit the Shrine of the Book
housing the Dead Sea scrolls at the Israel Museum, and an exhibit on Israeli
technological innovations designed especially for the trip.
* Five and a
half hour visit to Ramallah for a meeting with Palestinian Authority President
* Speech to students at the International Convention
Center in Jerusalem * Reception with US Secretary of State John Kerry at the
American consulate in Jerusalem
* State dinner hosted by Pres, with musical
performances by Rita and David Deor.March 22
· Wreath laying ceremony at
the graves of Theodor Herzl and Yitzhak Rabin on Mount Herzl.
with the head of the opposition, expected to be Labor's Shelly
· Visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
· 2:00 pm