Subject: WH Pool Report No. 13
WH Pool Report No. 13 – State Dinner at Peres’s House
State Dinner is under way at President Peres’s residence. We just had a ceremony at the beginning of the dinner where Israel’s Presidential Medal of Distinction was conferred on President Obama.
Peres went first, but first Obama…..
Some quotes from Obama: “This is an extraordinary honor and I could not be more deeply moved”
He also responded to the honor by saying, “Dayenu,” title of the Passover Seder song meaning “It would be enough for us.”
“Ben Gurion, Meir, Begin, Rabin: these giants have left us. But you are with us still, a founding father in our midst,” Obama said to Peres.
Joked about Peres’s vitality at 89: “Every time I see you in person I ask him who his doctor is. We all want to know the secret.”
As Obama went into the toast, he said, “I’m starting to get pretty good at Hebrew.”
His toast, delivered in Hebrew, was translated as “Until you’re 120 years old.” It ended with “L’Chaim,” to life.
Obama again mentioned White House Seders, and said he’s fond of hiding matzo in the White House and having Malia and Sasha look for it. “It’s a great way to entertain the kids: Malia and Sasha. Even though they’re getting older they still enjoy it,” he alleged. “And there are a lot of good places to hide it, in the White House,” the president added.
Obama said the Jewish people’s “story of slavery to salvation, overcoming the most overwhelming odds, this message has inspired the world.”
“That includes Jewish Americans but also African Americans, who so often had to deal with their own challenges, with whom you have stood shoulder to shoulder. African Americans and Jewish Americans marched together at Selma. And Montgomery. With rabbi carrying the Torah as they walked. They boarded buses for Freedom Rides together. They bled together they gave their lives together. Jewish Americans like Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, alongside African American David Chaney….Because of their sacrifice, because of the struggle of generations in both our countires we can come together tonight in freedom and security.”
“ All things are possible, even those things that in moment of darkness and doubt may seem elusive,” Obama said, in apparent reference to the peace process.
At conclusion Obama said he was accepting the award “on behalf of the American people.”
At the dinner, seating at head table from audience view is Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Obama, President Peres then Sara Netanyahu. As they entered they passed Sec. Kerry, who was seated at a table in the center of the room along with Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren and others. Kerry had a brief chat with the prime minister, which we could not hear. When Sara came by, Kerry kissed her on both cheeks.
About a dozen tables of ten guests on the floor level.
Also, even though Obama was not seated directly next to Mrs. Netanyahu. He moved over and pulled out her chair to help her get seated.
Menu and more speech details to come.