PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — President Barack Obama has given a small piece of the U.S.’s oldest synagogue in Rhode Island to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Providence Journal reports that Obama on Wednesday gave Netanyahu a small piece of a floorboard that was removed from Newport’s Touro Synagogue during a reconstruction several years ago.

George Washington visited the synagogue and in 1790 wrote a now-famous letter affirming the nation’s commitment to religious freedom.

The wood given to Netanyahu was framed and included a plaque quoting from Washington’s letter: “Every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

Obama is visiting Israel for the first time as president.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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