Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said three security issues will take top priority during his meetings with President Barack Obama on his visit, expected to begin on March 20.
"We are in the midst of preparations for the U.S. president's visit, which will center around three major issues," Netanyahu said at the opening of Sunday's cabinet meeting. "The first item is Iran's advancement toward obtaining a nuclear weapon. Unfortunately, their progress continues and Iran has even accelerated their nuclear activities as of late. The second topic will be the Syrian government's collapse. Finally, we will discuss reigniting the peace process with the Palestinians. During Obama's scheduled visit, we will discuss the issues that play the most important role in maintaining Israel's security and future."
Obama's Israel trip is scheduled to last 48 hours, including his stop in Ramallah. Obama is slated to visit President Shimon Peres' Jerusalem residence, the Prime Minister's Residence and Yad Vashem. It has not yet been determined where the U.S. president will make a speech, though he has requested to speak to citizens, not the Knesset.
"We thought about taking the [U.S.] president to Masada or the Sea of Galilee, but in the end we just don't have the time," said National Security Council chief Yaakov Amidror.
Meanwhile, dozens of activists who support the release of Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a life sentence in the United States for delivering classified information to Israel, demonstrated outside the President's Residence in Jerusalem on Sunday while Peres was hosting a number of U.S. senators.
The group calls itself the "Life-saving Shift." Demonstrators carried signs that read "Don't let Pollard rot in jail," and English-language placards that showed U.S. officials who supported Pollard's release in the past.
Peres is expected to raise the issue of releasing Pollard with Obama while he is visiting. Peres recently met with Pollard's wife, Esther, and also with members of the Justice for Pollard Committee and pledged to work for Pollard's release.
Esther Pollard, who is expected to visit the Knesset on Monday to meet with MKs from various factions, said on Sunday, "I am asking the president and prime minister to work with Obama to save my husband. After 28 years in prison, the tragedy must stop before there won't be anything left to save."
Branding Obama's visit
The Prime Minister's Office has asked the public to help decide on the official logo for the U.S. president's Israel trip, which will be under the slogan "Unbreakable Alliance."
Three logos were uploaded to the prime minister's Facebook page on Sunday. The one with the most likes in 48 hours will be declared the winner.