If U.S. President Barack Obama can't come to Iron Dome, then Iron Dome will come to him. According to the president's itinerary for his upcoming visit to Israel, which was released for public viewing on Monday, he will land at Ben-Gurion International Airport at noon next Wednesday. As part of the official state welcome planned for him, the president will be taken on a tour of an Iron Dome battery that will be stationed at the airport.
The initial plan was to fly the president by helicopter to an Israel Defense Forces base in the south of the country to see an Iron Dome battery, but his busy schedule necessitated that the battery be moved closer to him instead.
The Americans invested $800 million in the project and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to move the battery as an expression of appreciation for the U.S. support. Israel Police Commissioner Insp. Gen. Yohanan Danino and his chief operations officer surveyed the airport on Monday and approved the security measures in place there.
After Obama sees the Iron Dome battery, he will arrive at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, where he will be greeted by children waving U.S. and Israeli flags. The president will be met by a child from a community near the Gaza Strip, whose home was spared rocket fire damage thanks to protection provided by Iron Dome, and a student from the Ilan Ramon Foundation's program for excellence, who will thank him for his support.
President's Residence Director-General Efrat Duvdevani said: "The goal of this gesture is to express honest appreciation toward the U.S. president for his contribution to and cooperation on strategic and security-related projects, alongside science and technology-related projects."
After meeting President Shimon Peres, Obama will meet the prime minister. Netanyahu is expected to invite several senior members of his new government — likely Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid as well as the designated defense minister — to the meal that will follow.
On Thursday, Obama will tour the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, from where he will depart to Ramallah. After returning from the West Bank, Obama will arrive at the International Convention Center in the capital, where he will make a speech in front of university students.
In the evening, Obama will visit the American Consulate in east Jerusalem. He is then expected to dine with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and prominent Israeli figures. During the dinner, Peres will award Obama the President's Medal.
On Friday morning, Obama will lay wreaths at the graves of Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl and assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and will visit the National Holocaust Museum at Yad Vashem. He will then meet Opposition Leader MK Shelly Yachimovich and embark on a tour of Bethlehem in the West Bank, where he will visit the Church of the Nativity. Obama is scheduled to leave the country at 2 p.m. on Friday.