This Week in History: First US presidential visit to Israel

17.06.2011                      15.Siwan, 5771 

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This Week in History: First US presidential visit to Israel

Twenty-six years after the creation of the State of Israel, Nixon was the 1st sitting US president to set foot on its shores and in the hills of Jerusalem.

On June 16, 1974, US President Richard Nixon made the first visit to Israel by a sitting US president. The visit, coming just over six months after the Yom Kippur War, was part of a wider trip to Middle Eastern countries meant to consolidate US influence in the region, solidify the ceasefire and separation of forces agreements brokered at the end of the Yom Kippur War, and do damage control in the aftermath of the painful 1973 Oil Crisis. The visit to Israel was the first of eight such trips made by five US presidents, and helped set a precedent in the relationship between the two countries.
Nixon’s 24-hour visit to Israel came on the heels of stops in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Less than a year after the end of the Yom Kippur War, the United States had been intensely engaged in attempts to broker a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Then-US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who accompanied Nixon on his trip, had for months been conducting “shuttle diplomacy” between Israel and the Arab states in still failed attempts at strengthening the ceasefire and separation of forces agreements that ended the war….