Dear Barack Obama, 

First of all, we welcome you to Israel – as we would any world leader. In the Jewish culture, the land of Israel is considered to be above all other lands, and I am sure that visiting here will be an uplifting experience for you. I suggest that instead of thinking of ways to influence this region, you should open yourself to the possibility of taking some of our high spirits and morals back with you to America and using our examples to solve some of the problems that your nation is dealing with today. 

Many journalists, in their efforts to milk a story out of your visit here, are working hard to launch a balloon that reads: “Obama’s visit to Israel will restart the Two State program and put Israel in reverse gear to remove itself from the lands that it possesses.” I advise you to bring down your expectations on that front. We here are tired of arrogant western leaders who think that they can impress us with shallow ideas of how we should be living our lives and interacting with our neighbors. 

In general, it seems that Israelis are not very excited about the American presidential visit. Not even here yet, you have already succeeded in alienating an entire segment of our youth by excluding the students of Ariel University from your address to Israeli students. That is too bad; it is said that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Had they been invited to your address, students of Ariel would have shown you the same respect as their peers. But being serious in their studies, they will be glad to avoid missing a day of class in order to attend the gathering from which you decided to exclude them. 

Many Israelis are already convinced that you lean towards support of the Arab agenda. They have many points of reference: your repeated demonstrations of an insulting attitude towards our Prime Minister, your one sided statements regarding our borders, your misstep at Al Azhar (I will get back to that).      

But most hurtful is your cruel treatment of Jonathan Pollard. This is totally unacceptable. His punishment has lasted too long. Of all points of dissatisfaction with you, Mr. Obama, I think it is safe to say that Israelis are most discontented with your shameless extended imprisonment of Pollard. It is hard to consider as a friend someone who is holding our brother in such a hopeless manner. My best advice is that if you wish to speak with the Israelis and be heard, bring Pollard home. Show just a small gesture of compassion. If you have no heart for the pain of the Jewish people, don’t expect us to consider you anything other than a modern day Pharaoh. 

At Al Azhar, you insulted our very existence when you echoed the words of Ahmadinejad by tying Israel’s right to exist to the crimes of the Nazi Holocaust. That is a gross misinterpretation of history. If the right of the Jewish people to a national homeland were connected to a debt of the nations who stood in silence while Hitler’s Germany put millions of Jews into the furnaces, that Jewish state could have been established anywhere from Uganda to Texas. But that is not the case; the Jewish connection to the land of Israel is thousands of years old. It started with the promise of G-d to the fathers of our nation, as recorded in the Bible, and led through the destiny of our great King David and the Temple of Solomon in our capital city, Jerusalem. Over 2000 years of forced exile, the Jewish people never forgot and never gave up the hope of reclaiming our own homeland. 

The State of Israel, which was established here in the land of our fathers, is based first and foremost in that historical right which overrides any declaration of the United Nations or any other international body. We thank G-d, who, in his great mercy, brought us back to Jerusalem our capital and Judea and Samaria, our heartland. Don’t bother trying to pressure us to leave it, as we will not turn our backs on the land that we love. 

My advice to you, Mr. Obama, is that after you send our brother Jonathan Pollard home to us, you wish us well, and we to will in turn pray for the success and well being of our friends, the good people of America.  

Students of Ariel University protest Obama excluding them from his address to Israeli students.

Students of Ariel University protest Obama excluding them from his address to Israeli students.