Shalom Life | October 19, 2015

Obama: Our Commitment to Israel is Unshakeable

The U.S. President also spoke of the need a two-state solution on the inaugural "Solidarity Sabbath" in D.C.

By: Daniel Koren

Published: May 22nd, 2015 in News » World

Obama: Our Commitment to Israel is Unshakeable

Photo: President Obama at Adas Israel on Friday, May 22nd

Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP


President Barack Obama spoke to a crowd of over 1,000 people at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C. Friday, on the inaugural Solidarity Sabbath, a new holiday to raise support for Jews in the wake of rising anti-Semitism around the world.

“Our commitment to Israel’s security and my commitment to Israel’s security is and always will be unshakable,” Obama stated, while donning a white yarmulke. Anything else would be a "moral failing."

To mark the first solidarity sabbath, lawmakers appeared in congregations across the United States.

Obama's address reassured American Jews of the United States' support for Israel, declaring that, “When we allow anti-Semitism to take root, our souls are destroyed.”

“It will spread,” he added.

The President spoke of anti-Semitic events that have transpired across Europe, and the United States, noting that anti-Semitism should not be considered a "passing fad."

Obama also tackled the ongoing Israel-Palestine dispute, calling for the need of establishing a free Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel, while using Hebrew terms like tikkun olam not to lose stride.

He spoke of how Jewish values inspired his own personal philosophies, and shared his vision of “Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security.”

“Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their land as well. That’s not easy,” he stated. “The Palestinians are not the easiest of partners. The neighborhood is dangerous and we cannot expect Israel to take existential risks with their security and so any deal that takes place has to take into account the genuine dangers of terrorism and hostility.”

Acknowledging what many others have accused him of - Bill Maher might have put it best - Obama admitted that, “Yes, I have high expectations for Israel the same way I have high expectations for the United States of America.”

“The rights of the Jewish people compel me to think about the rights of a Palestinian child in Ramallah who feels trapped without opportunity,” he said. “That’s what Jewish values teach me.”

Obama's speech also marked the start of Jewish American Heritage Month. Much of the sentiments seem to reiterate his interview with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg Thursday, where he also stressed his love and support for the State of Israel, and the Jewish people.

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