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.