Obama is fifth serving president to visit Israel
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Obama is fifth serving president to visit Israel

Bill Clinton came a record four times, George W. Bush twice, Carter and Nixon once each

Visiting Israel from Wednesday to Friday, Barack Obama becomes the fifth serving president to come to the Jewish state, and he’s making the ninth presidential visit.

Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu head to the Iron Dome (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu head to the Iron Dome (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Obama, who has visited twice before — including as a presidential candidate in 2008 — joins Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush on the short register of serving presidents to come here.

Clinton leads the presidential pack with four visits while president, including for the 1995 funeral of assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

President Bill Clinton laughs with prime minister Yitzhak Rabin upon his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, Oct. 27, 1994. Clinton arrived in Israel after a trip to Syria where he met with president Hafez Assad in in an attempt to further the Middle East peace process. Later, speaking to the Knesset, Clinton said of Syria, "Its leaders understand it is time to make peace." (photo credit: AP Photo/David Brauchli)
President Bill Clinton laughs with prime minister Yitzhak Rabin upon his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, Oct. 27, 1994. Clinton arrived in Israel after a trip to Syria where he met with president Hafez Assad in in an attempt to further the Middle East peace process. Later, speaking to the Knesset, Clinton said of Syria, “Its leaders understand it is time to make peace.” (photo credit: AP Photo/David Brauchli)

Bush visited twice, both times in 2008. Like Clinton, but unlike Obama, he did address the Knesset.

President George W. Bush speaks to a special session of the Knesset, May 15, 2008. (photo credit: AP/Ariel Schalit/pool)
President George W. Bush speaks to a special session of the Knesset, May 15, 2008. (photo credit: AP/Ariel Schalit/pool)

Carter came in 1979, expediting progress toward Israeli-Egyptian peace.

Prime minister Menachem Begin gestures to president Jimmy Carter as they leave a cabinet meeting to head for the Knesset, March 12, 1979 where Carter delivered a speech. At center is Carter's security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. (photo credit: AP Photo)
Prime minister Menachem Begin gestures to president Jimmy Carter as they leave a cabinet meeting to head for the Knesset, March 12, 1979 where Carter delivered a speech. At center is Carter’s security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. (photo credit: AP Photo)

And Nixon, the first president to come here, visited in 1974, in the wake of the previous year’s Yom Kippur War and, in part perhaps, to get away from the Watergate affair.

President Richard Nixon arrives in Israel, June 17, 1974 -- the first serving president to visit. (photo credit: GPO)
President Richard Nixon arrives in Israel, June 17, 1974 — the first serving president to visit. (photo credit: GPO)
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