If I heard correctly, I believe the President stated that he was himself a Zionist. The concept of Zionism first took root in Eastern Europe in the late 1800s. It spread after World War I and European Jews started migrating to Israel at that time. The Nazi death camps of the 1930s and 1940s turned most of the Jewish survivors into Zionists and the vast majority of Jews left Europe to migrate either to Israel or to the United States.
The three pillars of Zionism are: 1. Israel should be a Jewish state. 2. Israel should be a democratic state. 3. Israel should occupy Israel's historical biblical boundaries. Perhaps when the President called himself a Zionist, he misspoke. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could never credibly claim to be a Zionist to his Israeli constituents. The idea of occupying the historical land of Israel has been all but abandoned.
While never a super state, Ancient Israel was definitively larger than it is today. It encompassed parts of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. At times, it included parts of Saudi Arabia and Turkey. What we know as Israel today was created by the British in 1921, when they divided their colony of Transjordan along the Jordan River designating the territories of "Palestine" and "Jordan."
Bear in mind that all of the borders of all of the countries of the Middle East were drawn by the British and French after World War I. This was generally done without regard to the indigenous peoples or their histories. For example, literally, the nation of Kurdistan was accidentally omitted from the map and the Kurds have no homeland to this day. Saudi Arabia was wholly invented by the Brits and named for a tribal chieftain that they made king.
In the days of the Old Testament, God told his people to go among the natives of the land he gave them and slay them all until they were all gone. The Israeli's were reluctant to do that. God further advised them that so long these non-Jews remained in their promised land, they would forever be a thorn in their eye. The Jews never chose to wipe out all of the native peoples.
Similarly, after the Nazi death camps, the Jews had no stomach to in turn exterminate others. Rather they simply wanted a place to call home where the nearly 2,000 years of persecution would end. In 1948 Britain ceded the territory to the U.N. and Israel was recognized as a state. Israel is a Jewish state because of nothing more than immigration, legal and illegal. Between the 1890s and 1950, the Jews transformed from an ethnic minority into an ethnic majority. Since that time, the Jews have repelled numerous attacks, sometimes taking land for defensive purposes, but they have never initiated a war.
Israel contains approximately 10,000 square miles of land. It is about the same size as New Hampshire, less than one-third the size of Indiana. Imagine what it would be like if the people of North West Indiana (the Chicago-land area) and the people of greater Indianapolis wanted to exterminate the population of rural Indiana. The states of Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan want to invade Indiana and California and Texas are funding rural Indiana's enemies and threatening rural Indiana with missiles and terrorism. That is comparable to the situation in Israel today.
Now imagine that we rural Hoosiers want to live in peace with our neighbors in Chicago-land and Metro Indy but they remain committed to destroying us and refuse to recognize our right to exist. Most of the rest of the United States want us to give them all of the land along I-65 and complete independence. What does that do to our safety and security?
Before anyone raises complaints, you must know that International law has ALWAYS recognized lawful ownership of land by right of conquest. Bear in mind that all of the United States was either conquered from someone else or obtained from someone who conquered it. The same is true of every other nation on Earth.
Should Poland get back the land taken by Russia in 1939? Should Germany get back parts of Lithuania and Latvia? Should Greece have Istanbul (a.k.a. Constantinople) back from the Turks? Should New Orleans go back to Spain, who lost it to France? Should we go back to England??? Should England revert back to tribes of Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Picts, Celts, and Scots? What about Tibet, which was conquered by China in 1951? The examples are literally endless.
Will there be peace in the Middle East? Has there ever been? There has not ever been in my recollection, even under the rule of the Ottoman Turks.
Peace will only come when the Moslems decide that they love their children more than they hate the infidel. Unfortunately, their religion teaches them that their god cannot possibly tolerate Jews living among them and that something is wrong if Jews should prosper more than they. Jews and Arabs are both Semites. The very best kinds of hates are family affairs. Remember, Mohammed was himself a Jew who was rejected by his own people before conquering the Arabian Peninsula and exterminating all of the native Jews he found there.