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Hillary Clinton’s White House bid makes headlines in Israel

(JTA) – Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose complex dealings with Israel date back to her days as first lady of Arkansas, announced her second bid for the White House. Clinton’s announcement Sunday, April 12 made headlines in Israel, with newspapers running front-page chronologies of her relations with the country dating back to the 1980s, when as the first lady of Arkansas she introduced an Israeli literacy program to the state, through her years in the White House as first lady, U.S. senator from New York and secretary of state. The chronologies included low points, such as her embrace in 1998 of Suha Arafat after the Palestinian leader’s wife claimed in remarks that Israel was deliberately poisoning Palestinian children, and high points like Clinton’s endorsement of Israel’s security barrier while she was a senator. Also highlighted was her endorsement of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, albeit with caveats suggesting that she was more skeptical of the Iranian regime than the president. In December, during the Saban Forum in Washington – an annual forum of Israeli and American leaders – Clinton endorsed Obama’s positions on talks with Iran and a two-state solution for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

“Nobody can argue with the commitment of this administration to Israel’s security,” she said at the forum.

In a late March conversation with Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Clinton said that the relationship between the United States and Israel should return to a “constructive footing.” The ties have frayed of late over the nuclear framework agreement signed by world powers, including the U.S., and Iran, over the latter’s nuclear program, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress deriding Obama’s policy on Iran.

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