Foto Friday – President Obama comes to visit
In anticipation of Barack Obama’s first official visit to Israel since becoming US president over four years ago, Israel’s Government Press Office switched into high gear with new media applications such as a smartphone app — compatible with both iPhone and Android — featuring real-time updates, video, photographs and behind-the-scenes glimpses at the visit. (The app is available in Hebrew and English and will soon be available in Arabic as well).
The busy bees at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the Prime Minister and the President of the State of Israel were working overtime to keep their Facebook pages, Flickr photo streams and Twitter feeds updated with news of the impending visit, starting with preparations on the Ben Gurion Airport tarmac…
There, an Dome Battery defense system was on display for the American president to review. President Obama was then whisked up to Jerusalem and the International Convention Center to deliver a speech on policy before an audience of students.
Outside stood activists from all sides of the political and social spectrum, from the Green Peace activists climbing up Jerusalem’s Chords Bridge in protest of exploratory drilling in the Arctic Circle…
While on the other side of the street were supporters of Jonathan Pollard, calling for his pardon and release from US prison after 28 years in jail.
The visit to Jerusalem include a stop at the Israel Museum for a remarkably Israel21c-like presentation of Israeli innovations that improve daily life for people around the world. Here, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama observe Radi Kioff, a Druze Israeli citizen who was wounded while serving in the Israel Defense Forces during the first Lebanon War. Kioff, a paraplegic, is aided by the ReWalk exoskeleton that enables him to walk upright. (You read it here first in 2008).
The welcome at the Palestinian Authority was a little less public protest, a little more Yanqui Go Home…
All went well at the joint press conference with President Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, held at the Muqata Presidential Compound.
And soon it will be time to bid our guest — laden with hopes, wishes and messages from all sides — goodbye.