Does Obama's Re-election Spell Trouble for Israel?

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands during his meeting with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, March 5, 2012. (Reuters/Jason Reed)
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands during his meeting with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, March 5, 2012. (Reuters/Jason Reed) ((Reuters/Jason Reed))

While Americans wonder what President Obama's next term means for them, many Israelis are asking the same question: What impact his re-election will have on America's relationship with its closest Middle East ally?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahucongratulated Obama and pledged to work together.

"The security relationship between the United States and Israel is rock solid, and I look forward to working with President Obama to further strengthen this relationship," Netanyahu told reporters on Wednesday.

Israeli pollster Mitchell Barak says Israel and its leaders—who have their own election in January—will adapt to Obama's victory.

"Israelis and whoever is prime minister—and it looks like it's going to be Netanyahu—is going to figure out a way to pragmatically work with Barack Obama knowing that he's in for four years and you just got to work together," Barak told CBN News.

But some Israelis are concerned about the next four years.  

"I think it's a catastrophe for the State of Israel because I don't think we have a friend, and I think in the next four years he's going to show his true colors," Israeli resident Barbara Diamond said.

"And I think what he said and did until now was for his re-election but he has it and he doesn't have to get re-elected so now he's going to be whoever he is," she said.

Others are optimistic.

"I think it's going to be different this time because he's understanding what's going on in the Middle East now better, and I hope he's going to improve his attitude toward Israel," another Israeli resident said.
 
Obama's re-election will likely affect the biggest issue in the Middle East: a possible Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. Some feel with Obama as president, Israel might have to go it alone.

"I just hope whatever decisions have to be made about Iran as far as Israel is concerned are made in Israel and not in Washington," Israeli resident Walter Saltzman said. "Certainly Israel should be ready to go it alone, preferring to work with the U.S., but if necessary Israel will go it alone."

Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Congress Yoram Ettinger says another four years of an Obama foreign policy, which avoids confrontation, pleases some Mideast players.

"Egypt is very happy with Obama's victory and you wonder what does that mean when the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational terror organization, is very happy with the re-election of President Obama," Ettinger told CBN News.

"I suspect Putin in Moscow, the Chinese and the Iranians are pretty satisfied with the results of the election," he said.


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