(CNN) - Unshackled from the White House, former spokesman for the National Security Council Tommy Vietor is being very candid about the Israeli cause to free Jonathan Pollard – an American who spied for Israel. Pollard was convicted in 1987 and is currently serving out a life sentence in the United States.
Many Israelis are waging a public effort to free Pollard in advance of President Obama's scheduled visit to Israel later this month. The effort for a pardon has been going on for decades, and has been rejected by presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
The Lead with Jake Tapper starts Monday, March 18th, only on CNN.
(CNN) – When President Barack Obama visits Israel next month, he'll be awarded the Presidential Medal of Distinction, Israeli President Shimon Peres' office announced Monday.
Obama, the first sitting U.S. president to receive the recognition, will be awarded the medal for making "a unique and significant contribution to strengthening the State of Israel and the security of its citizens," according to a release announcing the news.
(CNN) - Sen. Marco Rubio has arrived in Jordan, where he kicks off a Middle East trip that also takes him to Israel in two days, an aide to the senator told CNN on Sunday.
The Florida Republican will meet with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel as well as Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. In Jordan, he will meet with King Abdullah, he said.
(CNN) - President Barack Obama recently discussed an upcoming spring visit to Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed Tuesday in the daily press briefing.
While overseas, Obama will also visit the West Bank and Jordan "to continue his close work with Palestinian Authority officials and Jordanian officials," Carney added.
(CNN) – Republican Sen. Rand Paul is staying true to his message against sending millions in aid money overseas, even while visiting Israel, one of the largest beneficiaries of U.S. assistance.
"It will be harder to defend Israel if we destroy our country in the process," Paul said at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, according to the Jerusalem Post. "I think there will be significant repercussions to running massive deficits."
(CNN) - Amid the flurry of diplomatic congratulations over the maneuvering that led to a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas this week, the dual readouts of the roles played by President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu contained some interesting language.
A written statement detailing the telephone conversation between the two after an agreement was reached included the usual language of maintaining the U.S. commitment to Israeli security. But the White House also said that Obama "commended the prime minister for agreeing to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal – which the president recommended the prime minister to do."FULL STORY
(CNN) - Throughout his campaign, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has cast himself as an ardent backer of Israel - and, either directly or indirectly, suggested that President Barack Obama hasn't been similarly supportive.
The former Massachusetts governor lashed out again Monday in a speech at the Virginia Military Institute, criticizing Obama on several points. Among them was Israel, with Romney stating the relationship between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "has suffered great strains" in recent years.FULL STORY
(CNN) - President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by telephone on Friday, the day after the Israeli leader publicly urged the international community to draw a "clear red line" with Iran over its suspected nuclear development program.
The White House released a statement on the president's phone call shortly after 1 p.m. ET. Obama's call with Netanyahu was more than 20 minutes, according to a senior administration official.