Globe Trot
President Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abba visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem Friday.
Associated Press/Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais
President Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abba visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem Friday.

Globe Trot: Obama’s Middle East tour. Next stop: Jordan

International

President Obama ended his three-day visit to Israel with a stop at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem today. He travels on to Jordan.

The president’s speech yesterday to students at the Jerusalem Convention Center reminded me of Obama on the stump, at his best before a young crowd, creating glossy word pictures that (to my mind) hide the lack of policy substance. He emphasized the need for “direct negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinians but offered little new. He only touched on the nuclear threat from Iran, and spoke not at all about Egypt and the changing political landscape of the Middle East.

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If you are in the Washington area, you don’t want to miss a panel discussion moderated by Eric Metaxas next Wednesday featuring Hudson Institute scholars Nina Shea, Paul Marshall, and Lela Gilbert—authors of the new book Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians. The event will also be live-streamed on the Hudson Institute website.

Violence against Christians by Hindu extremists in India continues and has in recent weeks been widespread—including areas with large Christian populations like Kerala state and areas like Orissa with histories of Christian crackdowns.

Sheikh Mohammad Said Ramada al-Bouti will not be calling on Syrians to join the fight against opposition fighters in Friday prayers today. A suicide bomb yesterday tore through the mosque where the prominent Sunni imam was preaching, killing him and about 41 others. Bouti, who was 84 and often preached on state television, was a crucial spokesman for the regime among Sunnis, who have led the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

Today is World Water Day. See the fun video and free download, “The Water We Eat,” for some fascinating facts about our biggest consumable.

Mindy Belz
Mindy Belz

Mindy travels to the far corners of the globe as the editor of WORLD and lives with her family in the mountains of western North Carolina. Follow Mindy on Twitter @mcbelz.

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