The video testimony genre is turning out to be popular this elections season in the United States. The Republican Jewish Coalition was the first to launch a campaign with recorded confessions of former Jewish Democrats disappointed in President Barack Obama for not being a friend of Israel.
The National Jewish Democratic Council returned fire with testimonials of Israelis, including some residents of Sderot, the city that suffered the most of the rocket attacks from Gaza, thanking President Obama for his support.
Sara Sasson, a resident of Sderot, is confident that Sderot and the State of Israel are “important” to Obama. David Segev says he trusts President Obama and hopes he gets reelected, and Albert Tsadikov goes for the full endorsement of the president.
"We know that as long as President Obama is in office, we can sleep peacefully and worry free,” says Segev. “I want to thank you President Obama from all the citizens of Sderot for supporting us."
Per Jacob Dahan, Obama was "a pleasant surprise." Dahan recalls his visit to Sderot as a candidate in summer 2008. "He was very sympathetic towards us. He saw the rocket pieces that were shot at us," he says.
NJDC President and CEO David Harris said that "President Barack Obama's strong support for Israel has been recognized by Israeli leaders such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, as well as many pro-Israel leaders here in the United States. Today, we're hearing what Israelis living on the front lines think."
Both organizations will have soon to catch up with the new developments on the Iranian track, as relations between Israeli government and the U.S. administration sour once more. Officials in Jerusalem have been signaling the urgency of a decision on Iran, or at least toughening the credibility of the threat of military strike, with Pentagon top officials largely ignoring the message and stressing that there is still time for diplomacy and sanctions to work.
Diplomats can tell a thousand tales of close coordination between the governments, but they cannot agree on defining the red line with regard to the Iranian nuclear program. For Israel, the mere capacity to develop nuclear weapons goes beyond this line. The Israeli leadership is confident they are right in this case. The intelligence assessments along with the public statements made by Iranian officials all support the cause against Teheran. However, the fact that the U.S. elections stuck in the middle, it won't help Israel whether the cause is just or not. If the risk of being dragged to war endangers the incumbent's chances to win the reelection, the rhetoric of Iran being a danger to the whole world is suddenly winding down. Israel stands pretty much alone, beating the drum wars for the indifferent spectators with no warriors willing to join the dance.
There have been precedents of the U.S. being unpleasantly surprised, which ended with a sort of approving the action post factum. But, as many noted before, Iranian nuclear facilities are no Osirak, and President Obama is no Reagan. At the low points of his rocky relationship with Netanyahu, President Obama could certainly borrow Reagan's characterization of Begin: "That fellow makes it hard for us to support Israel". But guess what - the UN General Assembly is approaching, just several weeks before the elections, and the Palestinian leadership is signaling its readiness to test the international community once again with a membership bid. Guess who is going to support Israel in his speech.
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