Outgoing U.S. Ambassador: Obama Planning to Visit Israel

Knesset speaker tells ambassador that many worry that Israel has become burden rather than strategic asset.

James Cunningham, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to Israel, said Tuesday that U.S. President Barack Obama intends on visiting Israel.

Cunningham mentioned that Israel is on Obama's agenda during a farewell meeting with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, who thanked Cunningham for his service as the two discussed the current state of U.S.-Israel relations.

Obama - AFP - 8.6.11

In their discussion, Rivlin told Cunningham that many Israelis feel the mood in the White House has changed for the worse. [They worry] Israel has become a burden rather than a strategic asset to the United States," Rivlin said.

Rivlin also discussed the stalled negotiations with the Palestinians, saying that Obama should know that there are no shortcuts in the Middle East...even a senator who ascended to the presidency cannot bring about miracles here.

He added that many Israelis felt uncomfortable with the fact that President Obama decided to visit Egypt without stopping in Israel.

Cunningham assured Rivlin that Obama is indeed planning a visit to Israel.

The President wants to visit Israel and will do so it is on his agenda, Cunningham said, without elaborating on when the visit would take place.