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White House

Past U.S. Presidential Visits to Israel

President Obama leaves on Tuesday for Israel, making him one of five U.S. presidents to visit the Jewish state while in office. George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon all made the trip while in the White House. 

Many past trips have involved crucial negotiations in the Middle East peace process or other milestones. The main purpose of Obama's trip is to firm up the close bond between the two nations.

Carter’s trip in March 1979 was part of his effort to bring a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, which was signed later that month. Clinton’s trip in 1994 brought about a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, ending a 46-year state of war between the two countries.

Obama does not have a major peace accord or new policy to announce. Instead, he will meet with political leaders to reassure them of his administration's commitment to Israel. He will also deliver a speech to an audience of students and other Israelis in Jerusalem. The president's trip includes stops in the West Bank and Jordan to address several pressing issues in the region, including the Syrian conflict.

Here is a look at the past U.S. presidential visits to Israel.

President George W. Bush meets with Israel's President Shimon Peres at the president's residence in Jerusalem on Jan. 9, 2008. (AP Photo/Jack Guez)

President Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (right), and President Shimon Peres (center) at a ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance in the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem on Jan. 11, 2008. (AP Photo/Oleg Popov)

President Clinton speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on December 13, 1998. Clinton was there to repair the tattered Wye River peace accords. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

 

President Clinton at the grave of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on March 14, 1996. (AP Photo/ Joe Marquette)

President Clinton, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and former President George H.W. Bush attend a funeral for slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Jerusalem on Nov. 6, 1995. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Arzt)

President Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (left), and Jordanian Prime Minister Abdul-Salam Majali (right) sign the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan during a ceremony on the Israel/Jordan border crossing in Israel on Oct. 26, 1994. The treaty ended a 46-year state of war between the two countries. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander)

 

President Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter in Israel March 11, 1979. (AP Photo/Shlomo Arad)

President Carter kneels at the Jewish national cemetery at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on March 11, 1979. (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty)

President Carter talks to Israeli President Izaak Navon at Navon’s house in Jerusalem March 11, 1979. (AP Photo)

 
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