(CNN) - Barack Obama landed in Israel Tuesday evening, telling members of the media one of his goals was to reaffirm the United States' "special relationship" with the country.
"The most important idea for me to reaffirm is the historic, special relationship between the United States and Israel," Obama said at Ben Gurion airport. "One that cannot be broken, one that I have affirmed through out my career, and one that I would intend to not only continue but actually strengthen in an Obama administration.
Obama also expressed sadness over an attack in downtown Jerusalem earlier Tuesday that injured five people. A Palestinian man rammed a construction vehicle into cars and buses before he was shot and killed near the hotel where Obama is scheduled to stay.
“It's just one more reminder of why we have to work diligently, urgently, and in a unified way to defeat terrorism," he said. "There are no excuses, and I am absolutely committed to working with the Israeli government to make sure these kinds of occurrences do not happen and my thoughts and prayers go out to the families that have suffered as a consequence of today's vicious attacks."