Obama calls Israeli PM ahead of Jewish holiday

08:26, April 19, 2011      

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U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to convey his "best wishes" before the start of Passover, a major Jewish holiday, the White House said in a statement.

The Passover commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelis were freed from slavery in Egypt.

Obama said he will host a seder, the Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Passover, at the White House, according to the statement.

He expressed his hope that the Israeli people would be able to celebrate in peace.

The White House said the two leaders also discussed U.S.- Israeli cooperation on counter-terrorism, Middle East peace efforts, and the recent violence near the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu expressed his "deep appreciation" for U.S. funding for the Iron Dome rocket and mortar defense system, which he noted has successfully intercepted several rockets aimed at Israel recently, said the statement.

With the signing of the fiscal year 2011 budget appropriation, Obama approved 205 million U.S. dollars in U.S. funding for the Iron Dome, according to the statement.

Source: Xinhua
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