Thank You, Mr. President

We send our thanks from Tel Aviv for saving us, even if it is only from an assault on Iran.

From little, far-off Tel Aviv, a "thank you from the bottom of our hearts" is hereby being sent to the President of the United States, Barack Obama.

At the close of his first term of office, he has at long last been revealed as a genuine friend of Israel. Precisely when we had given up on him, he rose up to save the rebellious ally from the Middle East. And following some four years of inaction and futility in the Middle East, he is now carrying out an act of leadership and friendship of the first order - saving Israel from itself.

Every Israeli should be grateful to him for this. The mist of the battle-that-was-not is beginning to clear, and as it does we are realizing it was all thanks to the man in the White House that Israel apparently will not attack Iran.

The word "apparently" is essential here still. The assumption is that Israel has a rational leadership - an assumption that does not always stand up to the test of reality. But now that the president's position is so resolute, even so scathing at times, no one assumes any longer that Israel would dare to attack Iran, to demonstrate such outrageous opposition to the positions of the American president and the world.

Shall the people dwell alone? Even this utterance has its limits. The nation will dwell alone only when it chooses to do so. The picture is clear: There is no support for an attack by Israel alone. From Washington to Beijing, from India to Ethiopia, and in Israel too, it is a matter of disagreement. Without consensus in Israel, and without American support, no rational Israeli statesman would dare to embark on such a venture. At least, that is what we hope.

So now that it seems we've avoided a crisis, we must all learn from the affair. Obama - for whom it is appropriate for us to wish success in the upcoming elections, lest Israel (and of course the United States ) fall under the wheels of the destructive, conservative Republican bus - must learn from the way Israel conducted itself, and from his own conduct as well.

In anticipation of a second term of office, Obama must learn the lessons of the Iranian chapter: The will of an American president can prevent even an Israeli gun from being fired. This principle appears to have successfully prevented the madness of bombing Iran, and it would prove successful on other fateful issues as well.

If indeed everything is personal, then perhaps it is possible that the very abhorrence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the ungratefulness of Israel will lead to something good after all. Maybe things will end well. Maybe this will prove to be the biggest joke in history. What seems now to be the worst crisis with the United States to date could lead to positive, even wonderful relations between the two countries - provided Obama 2 is more resolute than Obama 1.

The first Obama wavered. He tried to end the cursed and cancerous Israeli occupation, and then he quickly gave up. After successfully preventing an attack on Iran, perhaps the second Obama will turn out to be the one who understands his role - and, in particular, his power.

Aside from Jimmy Carter, it is doubtful whether the United States has ever had a president who understood better than Obama the global dangers of the Israeli occupation, its lack of morality and hope. Now we must hope he will also come to the right practical conclusions.

If, Mr. President, you have succeeded in stopping Israel from bombing Iran, perhaps you will understand that "Yes, you can." Yes, you can do other things, even bigger things, for the good of the world and for the good of your rebellious ally. If in fact you have realized that Israel can be dissuaded by real pressure from the United States, so too must you learn to use it for long-term needs as well. Preventing an Israeli attack on Iran has to be merely the appetizer. The main course must follow shortly thereafter.

Your election, Mr. President, inspired tremendous hope in the Middle East. Soon afterward, that hope turned into bitter disappointment. It turned out you were not decisive enough to bring about even a small move such as freezing the settlements. But birth pangs, even if they are those of an American president, are understandable. In anticipation of your second term, with greater self-assurance and this holy anger toward those who mock you and lead you astray in Jerusalem, the hope has once again been kindled that perhaps this time it will be different.

Meanwhile, we send our thanks from Tel Aviv for saving us, even if it is only from an assault on Iran.