Israeli prime minister making California swing 

click to enlarge Benjamin Netanyahu
  • AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be visiting California this week.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was traveling Tuesday from Washington, D.C., to California -- trading a focus on the geopolitics of the Middle East for a Hollywood screening and Silicon Valley tour.

Netanyahu's schedule included the screening in Los Angeles of a television documentary in which he is featured, and a trip north to the offices of Apple Inc.

The California trip should offer Netanyahu a break from weighty discussions in Washington, where President Barack Obama challenged the Israeli leader on Monday to make "tough decisions" to salvage an elusive Middle East peace plan with Palestinians.

In a speech Tuesday before his flight west, Netanyahu reiterated his position that Western nations should increase pressure on Iran and its nuclear program. Once in Los Angeles, he planned to meet with local Jewish leaders before watching the television documentary "Israel: The Royal Tour." The show is described as "an all-access pass into -- and across -- the entire country, led by the one man who knows it best."

On Wednesday, Netanyahu is scheduled to travel north to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he will meet with Gov. Jerry Brown, then visit Apple and WhatsApp, the free messaging service recently bought by Facebook that is wildly popular in Israel and elsewhere.

Israel is a high-tech powerhouse and many tech giants -- including Apple, Google and Microsoft -- have made investments there, buying companies or conducting research and development.

Netanyahu is scheduled to return to Los Angeles on Wednesday before leaving Thursday.

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