The road to the White House passes through Tel Aviv, at least according to Senator Barack Obama. The Democratic presidential hopeful is vigorously wooing Israeli public opinion in an effort to win the hearts of Jewish voters in the United States.
All candidates are well aware of the fact that Israel – and by extension the Jewish vote – are an integral part of the US presidential campaign. Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, has already visited Israel and
Obama may choose to follow suit.
Obama also plans to launch a vigorous PR campaign to win Israeli support: According to a Friday report in Yedioth Ahronoth, the past two weeks have seen officials from Obama's headquarters mulling over the idea of a blog with the Media consultants of the Israeli website Tapuz.
Tapuz has gone ahead and launched an "Obama blog",
which is said to feature the candidate’s speeches and campaign messages, mainly those that pertain to Israel.
Recent US polls indicate that in spite of persistent accusations of anti-Semitism, Obama is still fairly popular with Jewish voters, roughly splitting the Jewish vote with Senator Hillary Clinton.
Obama’s campaign mangers are concerned, however, that his anti-Israeli image might plague him in the future. They are particularly concerned in light of Republican candidate McCain’s persistent efforts to court the Jewish vote and present a decidedly pro-Israeli front.
Tzahi Stein, VP of Marketing and Strategy at Tapuz: "This is a very exciting turn of events and we look forward to working closely with Obama’s staff".
The presidential candidate's campaign headquarters, however, issued a slightly more reserved statement on Friday night: "We are delighted that so many supporters, here in the United States, in Israel, and around the world are interested in ensuring that the facts of Senator Obama's strong support for Israel and US-Israel relationship are known."
The Tapuz blog, continued the statement, "as others around the world, are private blogs that post Senator Obama's publicly available speeches and policies. The official blog of Senator Obama can be found at www.BarackObama.com."