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Obama in Israel: 'It's Good to Get Away from Congress'

8:36 AM, Mar 20, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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President Obama told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel that "It's good to get away from Congress." Politico's Mike Allen reports:

BREAKING - "Obama vows peace on first visit to Israel as president," by AFP's Stephen Collinson in Tel Aviv : "'Peace must come to the Holy Land,' Barack Obama said ... as he landed in Israel for the first time as US president ... [with] a lavish welcoming ceremony at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport at the start of a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories. 'Our alliance is eternal, it is forever,' Obama declared on a bright morning after Air Force One rolled to a stop ... Israeli President Shimon Peres praised Obama as a 'remarkable world leader' ... Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom Obama has had a prickly relationship, was also effusive. ... Obama, Netanyahu and Peres, each wearing a white shirt and a blue tie -- the colours of the Israeli flag -- smiled and joked as they greeted dignitaries.

"The US leader then came face-to-face with Israel's preoccupation with security, visiting a mobile battery of the US-funded Iron Dome missile defence system trucked to the airport. ... Obama's long-awaited visit [is] the debut overseas trip of his second term ... Obama will pointedly court the historic symbolism of the Jewish State when he inspects the Dead Sea Scrolls and visits the tomb of Theodor Herzl, founder of modern Zionism. The choreography is intended to show Israelis, Arabs and political foes back home that Obama is deeply committed to Israel's security and future ... Obama will deliver a speech to hundreds of young Israelis on Thursday."

--Kevin Robillard: "It's good to get away from Congress," the president joked in an aside to Netanyahu that was picked up by cameras as the pair lined up with others for the playing of each country's national anthem. Netanyahu responded with a chuckle.

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