U.S. President Barack Obama’s last morning in Israel was of a more sombre tone than the celebratory one that marked his first two days in the country.
First stop was Mount Herzl, Israel’s national cemetery. During his visit the president visited the gravesite of Theodor Herzl, founder of the modern Zionist movement. Afterwards, he visited the grave of slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin before meeting with Rabin’s family and making a few remarks to the hovering media, calling Rabin “a great man.”
From there the president visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust museum and memorial. Signing the guest book Obama wrote: “We are ever mindful of the incredible human cost of the Holocaust- an evil unprecedented in the annals of history. And yet we recognize, through this place, the triumph of the Jewish people and the human spirit, and vow to be ever vigilant in preventing such horror from ever happening again.” Following a ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, Obama gave a brief speech, saying, “the State of Israel does not exist because of the Holocaust, but with the survival of a strong Jewish State of Israel such a Holocaust will never happen again.”
From Yad Vashem President Obama headed to Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity. The trip was delayed by several hours because of wind preventing the president from traveling via helicopter to the site.
Watch a video of the ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance: