Obama reaffirms commitment to Israel security to American Jews

Reuters News
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Posted: May 22, 2015 2:36 PM

By Julia Edwards

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Seeking to shore up support from the Jewish community ahead of a June deadline to reach a potential deal to limit Iran's nuclear capabilities, President Barack Obama said his commitment to Israel was "unshakeable."

Speaking on Friday at the Adas Israel Congregation in Washington during Jewish American Heritage Month, Obama said the United States and Israel were in agreement that Iran must not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon, but acknowledged there was a debate about how to achieve that.

"My commitment to Israel's security is and always will be unshakeable," Obama said.

Obama's outreach to American Jews comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposed ongoing negotiations between six world powers, including the United States, to lift sanctions on Iran, in exchange for limitations on its nuclear program.

Israel's ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, was unable to attend Obama's speech because he was out of Washington on a previously scheduled trip, an Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

The deadline for completion of the negotiations with Iran is June 30.

(This story has been refiled to correct Netanyahu's title to prime minister, not president, fourth paragraph)

(Reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by Bernadette Baum)