Meet the Press | March 17, 2013
>>> on tuesday, the day a new pope was installed in rome, president obama makes a sensitive trip to the holy land for his first presidential trip to israel . the trip isn't ambitious. mostly the president seems to be responding to critics who question why he's not been to israel as president. truth is reagan never wept, and president george w. bush only visited during his final months in office. the president, however, is dogged by the perception that he's pulled toward the government of america's strongest ally in the middle east and by the criticism that his outreach to improve relations with the muslim world has been at israel 's expense. during an interview on friday with me for "press pass," israel 's ambassador to the u.s. sought to downplay any rift.
>> there is a u.s./ israel relationship which is deep, which is unbreakable, and that's a message of assurance to the people of israel at a very turbulent time in our region and a message to the people of the middle east .
>> mr. obama will visit the grave site of theodore hertz el, the father of modern zionism, meant to send a strong signal to the region that this president stands behind israel as its right to exist as jewish state . also on the agenda, a visit to the holocaust memorial and the church of the nativity in bethlehem, a revered site for christians. stay with nbc news for comprehensive coverage of the president's trip starting wednesday.