Washington (CNN) - As President Barack Obama makes his first visit to Israel since winning the White House more than four years ago, with anything but a warm relationship with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, a new national poll indicates that nearly half of all Americans consider Israel to be an ally of the United States, but the survey indicates a wide partisan divide.
And a CNN/ORC International poll also points out that two-thirds of Americans say that Israel and its Arab neighbors will never live in peace. And the public's divided on whether Washington should support Israel if it launches a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear program.
Jerusalem (CNN) - It is not a word used often in Israel, but the country's President Shimon Peres sounds downright zen when asked about the personal frostiness between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"I think it is more appearance than reality," Peres told CNN in an interview Tuesday morning. "You cannot adopt personal relations to political leadership. You have to face the situation and put aside your own personal feelings."
Jerusalem (CNN) – The banners hanging on Israeli street corners boast of the "Unbreakable Alliance" with the United States, and the Stars and Stripes is flying side by side with the Star of David all across Jerusalem.
It is a proud moment for the host nation. But as President Barack Obama heads to Israel and the West Bank for the first time since moving into the White House, there is no expectation of any significant policy breakthroughs and countless questions about his frosty relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Washington (CNN) – On the eve of his first trip as president to Israel, President Obama on Monday delivered a message to Iranian's leadership saying that the country will face increased isolation if it continues to pursue a nuclear policy.
The comments came as part of the president's video address to the Iranian people marking the beginning of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year.
(CNN) - In Jerusalem, signs welcoming President Barack Obama are already up. The president departs Washington Tuesday evening for his trip to the Middle East, which will also include stops in the West Bank and Jordan.
(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) – Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with leaders from Israel and the Palestinian Authority, among others, during his first weekend on the job, according to a readout released by the State Department on Sunday.
The former senator from Massachusetts spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the country's recent elections and the Middle East peace process. He also talked to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas about Israeli-Palestinian relations and vowed to continue efforts with Congress to send funds to the authority.