WASHINGTON - United States Senator Barack Obama, a Democrat from Illinois who is competing for his party's presidential nomination, told Haaretz on Thursday that the United States should help protect Israel from its "dangerous" enemies.

"My view is that the United States' special relationship with Israel obligates us to be helpful to them in the search for credible partners with whom they can make peace, while also supporting Israel in defending itself against enemies sworn to its destruction," he said.

"Israelis want more than anything to live in peace with their neighbors, but Israel also has real - and very dangerous - enemies," Obama said.

Obama, the first black candidate with a real chance at the Democratic nomination, intends to present his policy regarding Israel soon, and his staff has been drafting a speech on the subject.

In his speech, Obama intends to remove any doubts that the Democratic Party's donors and constituents, many of whom are Jewish, may have about his support for Israel.

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