US President Barack Obama in Sderot.
(photo credit: REUTERS/David Silverman)
When US President Barack Obama lands Wednesday afternoon in Israel for a
50-hour, much anticipated and discussed visit, he will be the fifth president to
visit Israel since its founding almost 65 years ago. During this period there
have been 12 different presidents.
Click here for full JPost coverage of Obama's visit to Israel
That is just one of the facts and
figures that are circulating concerning Obama’s visit.
Here are some
others: • There have been eight previous US presidential visits, with Bill
Clinton making four of those trips, three of them during his first term. George
W. Bush came twice in 2008, in the waning days of his presidency.
Carter came once in 1979 to push forward the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, and
Richard Nixon was the first US president to visit, coming in June 1974 – 55 days
before leaving office in disgrace.
• Obama will fly to Israel on Air
Force One, and then shuttle from Ben-Gurion Airport to Jerusalem on Marine One,
a US Marine Corps helicopter.
• Some 1,000 people will be on hand at
Ben-Gurion Airport when he lands at 12:25 p.m. including President Shimon Peres
and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
• The honor guard greeting the
president will be manned by 88 soldiers. He will be serenaded by a 50- person
• A special counter has been set up at the airport to deal with the hundreds of journalists coming into
the country where they can receive their Government Press Office credentials and
informational material on Israel.
• At the airport Obama will inspect
Israel’s multi-layer defense system, developed with Israeli technology and US
funds. This includes the Iron Dome, which intercepts short range rockets; Magic
Wand, still under development and designed against short and intermediate
missiles; Arrow 2 against long-range missiles; and Arrow 3, still being
developed, which will augment Arrow 2.
• Peres will welcome Obama at his
residence in a festive ceremony in which three Israeli children will take part:
a boy from a community near the Gaza Strip that has come under rocket fire; a
girl participating in a science program named after the late Israeli astronaut
Ilan Ramon; and an Arab girl from Jaffa.
• Obama’s meeting with
Netanyahu, following the ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem,
will be their tenth meeting in their present positions.
They met an
additional two times before Obama won the 2008 election.
gift to Obama will be a gold-plated 0.04 millimeter nano-chip stamped with the
US and Israeli declarations of independence. The chip will be placed on a
Jerusalem stone from the Second Temple period and is meant to signal the strong
ties between the two countries, the Jewish people’s ancient link to the Land of
Israel, and Israel’s technological contributions.
• Sarah Netanyahu will
present Obama with a silver Seder plate for his wife, to be used at the Seders
the Obamas hold each year in the White House; necklaces for his daughters; and a
rubber hamburger toy for his dog Bo.
• The dinner at the Prime Minister’s
Residence will be cooked by chef Shalom Kadosh, who also cooked for Carter,
Clinton and Bush during their visits. Idan Raichel will perform two
• The following evening Obama will be hosted at a state dinner by
Peres, where he will receive the Presidential Medal of Distinction. Some 120
guests, including leading politicians, artists, scientists and writers, will
dine with him. Rita and David Deor will perform there.
• Some 1,371
people took part in a US Embassy contest to win 20 tickets to see Obama’s
keynote speech Thursday at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem to
some 600 Israeli university students.
• Obama’s entourage numbers some
600 people, and will take over Jerusalem’s King David Hotel. Spillover from his
security detail will be staying at the nearby David Citadel Hotel.
5,000 policemen will be charged with protecting the president each day during
• 1,000 US, Israeli and Jerusalem municipal flags have been
raised in Jerusalem in Obama’s honor.Find live Twitter updates from our reporters covering the Obama visit, here: