President Obama sent condolences to Israel Saturday on the passing of former prime minister Ariel Sharon, but the commander in chief will not attend the upcoming memorial service, according to the White House.
Instead, the administration will send Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

“I look forward to leading the U.S. delegation to his memorial service, to pay respects to the man and to pay tribute to the unshakeable partnership between the United States and Israel,” Mr. Biden said in a statement.
In his own statement, Mr. Obama was noticeably lukewarm in his praise for the late Israeli leader.

“On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the family of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and to the people of Israel on the loss of a leader who dedicated his life to the State of Israel,” the president said.

His only other comment about Mr. Sharon was that the United States was joining with Israel “in honoring his commitment to his country.” The rest of Mr. Obama’s four-sentence statement focused on the ties between the U.S. and Israel.

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