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Israelis on Facebook Ask: Obama, Come to the Square

Israelis are hoping that US President Barack Obama will speak at Rabin Square and renew a sincere and friendly dialogue, writes Nadav Eyal.
A general view shows Rabin Square during a mass rally marking the 16th anniversary of the assassination of then-Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, in Tel Aviv November 12, 2011. Israel on Saturday marked the 16th anniversary of Rabin's assassination by an ultra-nationalist Jew. The banner reads, "16 years since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin". REUTERS/ Nir Elias (ISRAEL - Tags: ANNIVERSARY POLITICS) - RTR2TXTH
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In the interest of full disclosure, I did not come up with the headline for this article. It’s the headline of a Facebook page started on Wednesday, Feb. 6 by Israelis who want the American president to come to Rabin Square in Tel Aviv and speak directly to the Israeli public. This request touches the deepest cords of Israel’s collective consciousness and expresses a desire that is more than just a social network event. Israelis want to conduct a conversation with US President Barack Obama. More precisely, they want him to start talking to them.

Over the past four years, the US-Israeli public dialogue has been confined to very narrow arguments. These include the personal relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the extent of the US security commitment to Israel, Israel’s commitment to the peace process and even Obama’s personal sentiments toward the Israelis. Into this morass there seeped off-the-record briefings to reporters, mutual and uncomplimentary character assessments, recurring crises of confidence and above all, a sense of continuous discord.

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