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Oren: Obama sending message to Mideast he supports Israel

US President Barack Obama's visit to Israel next week will send a message both to Israel and its neighbors that the US supports and has a partnership with the Jewish state, Israeli envoy to the US Micheal Oren said in an interview with Channel 2 on Saturday.
Oren rejected criticism from New York Times' columnist Thomas Friedman that Obama was arriving as a "tourist" and not as a player in the peace process, stating that the US president delivering a message of support for Israel was particularly important at a time when "the Middle East is burning."
In response to polls finding that a large percentage of Israelis believe Obama is anti-Israel, Oren stated that he does not believe the Israeli public has had a chance to meet the US president up close yet.
"One of the goals of this trip is that they can get to know him," Oren said.
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