Haaretz: The U.S. president’s speech in Jerusalem redefines what it means to be a centrist in Israel. We deserve a leader like him. For Barack Obama to come to Jerusalem, and speak to Israeli students and talk persuasively of the possibility of a secure and peaceful future, for him to do that and garner a roaring ovation of approval, he would have to have given one hell of a speech.
He did. This was the speech that these young Israelis not only needed but wanted to hear. A speech that radically redefined centrism in Israel, bringing it down to extraordinary common denominators in directions Israelis have learned to think of as diametrically opposed.
He spoke of security and peace as inextricably and necessarily linked, not a narrow choice between options, but a conscious choice for both. They roared.
Jerusalem Post: Directing his remarks to the primarily young crowd at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem, Obama urged them to push for peace, saying that only when the people demand action do the leaders act. ”Peace is necessary. Indeed, it is the only path to true security,” he said, and stressed that the only way to achieve peace is through negotiations. He urged Israelis to shift from relying on defensive practices, such as the border fence and Iron Dome missile defense system, to forging permanent peace by solving the problem once and for all.
“Peace must be made among peoples, not just governments. No one step can change overnight what lies in the hearts and minds of millions. But progress with the Palestinians is a powerful way to begin, while sidelining extremists who thrive on conflict and division,” he said. He also encouraged his listeners to put themselves in the Palestinians’ shoes. ”It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of her own, and lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements of her parents every single day.
President Obama and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad visit Al Bera Youth Center in The West Bank city of Ramallah
….. welcomed by Palestinian youth during his visit to Al Bera Youth Center in the West Bank city of Ramallah
….. greeted by a welcome message unveiled by small robots during a visit to the al-Bireh Youth Center
….. attending a dance performance during a visit to the al-Bireh Youth Center
…… welcomed by Palestinian girls during his visit to Al Bera Youth Center
President Shimon Peres and President Barack Obama embrace during a state dinner hosted by Peres in Jerusalem
Has Obama Turned A Generation Of Voters Into Lifelong Democrats?
Molly Ball: Paul Ryan had a vision for the youth vote in 2012. In his speech accepting the Republican vice-presidential nomination, the Wisconsin congressman imagined legions of recent college graduates forced to “live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.” Ryan was sure those kids had recovered from their passing Obama fever and would either stay home or vote Republican. What happened, of course, was very different. The under-30 vote went nearly as strongly for Obama as it had before: Obama got 66 percent of the under-30 vote in 2008 and 60 percent in 2012, the best youth-vote showings for any presidential candidate since 1971, when the voting age was lowered to 18.
“These are voters who are in their formative years, politically,” Joel Benenson, the lead pollster for the Obama campaign, told me excitedly in the days after the election. “People frequently maintain the partisan identity that shapes their entry point into politics. What’s happening now is something people will hang on to for decades to come.” Could Benenson be right? Has Obama turned an entire generation of voters into lifelong Democrats? The answer, according to political scientists who study partisanship, may well be yes.