Bush gives go-ahead for 'Bush Center' in Israel
WASHINGTON - U.S. President George Bush was informed on Tuesday of an initiative to establish a center under his name in Israel, as a sign of gratitude for his support for the country and its security. Outgoing Israeli Ambassador to the United States Daniel Ayalon asked Bush for the go-ahead to establish such a center during a farewell meeting with the president and his deputy, Dick Cheney.
Bush told Ayalon that "freedom" would be a worthy subject for the center to focus on.
Ayalon has yet to approach donors with a request to finance the establishment of the "Bush Center" in Israel, but does not expect to encounter difficulties when it comes to raising the funds. The outgoing ambassador will continue to work on the matter with White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten.
Meanwhile, Ayalon, who leaves the diplomatic service in a number of days, left Washington on Tuesday and flew out to the West Coast where he will participate in a number of events before returning to Israel. His replacement, Sallai Meridor, will take up his post within a few weeks.
During his speech to the GA in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert thanked Ayalon for "his excellent service and personal commitment."
In his address, Olmert also thanked the U.S. Jewish community for its support for Israel during the war in Lebanon in the summer, warning, too, that the world was reaching its moment of truth with regard to Iran.
Olmert praised Bush's determination to prevent the nulcearization of Iran, adding that for the president to succeed, "he will need the support of the international community."
Olmert's address closed the GA, at which Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Finance Minister Abraham Hirschson also spoke. Opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke at the conference.
Olmert remained in Los Angeles yesterday for meetings with the city's Jewish leaders and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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