CBNNews.com - TEL AVIV, Israel - President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, were warmly welcomed upon arrival at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport Wednesday.
On hand to greet them were Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the Cabinet members and other national officials. The President greeted each one with a handshake.
"We consider the Holy Land a very special place, and we consider the Israeli people our close friends. Shalom," Bush said upon arrival.
"Welcome to Israel, 3,000 years old and going on 60," Peres responded, thanking America for standing "by our side on sunny mornings and stormy weather."
When the ceremonies were completed, the President flew by helicopter to Jerusalem to attend a 60th anniversary ceremony.
After meetings with Peres and Olmert, he will make an appearance at the Presidential Conference hosted by Shimon Peres.
President Bush is also expected to meet with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Thursday morning, Bush will visit the ancient desert fortress of Masada, returning to the nation's capital to address a special session of the Knesset.
Afterward, he will greet some young Israelis at the Bible Lands Museum before his 11:00 a.m. departure for the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh to meet with Arab leaders.
Sources: YNet news, The Jerusalem Post