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Yitzhak Benhorin
Setting the record straight
Obama deserves praise, not denigration, for commitment to Israel’s security
Part 1 of analysis

 

Plenty of nonsense had been uttered in Israel in respect to the Obama Administration and its attitude to Israel. This was the case both in baseless articles and in statements attributed to close associations of Prime Minister Netanyahu in the wake of his first meetings with the American president. After the meeting in Washington in May, a senior official in the PM’s plane was said to have uttered a statement about the “idiot who speaks about a two-state solution.” Meanwhile, after the meeting at the sidelines of the UN general assembly in September we saw headlines claiming that Netanyahu was able to stare Obama down.

 

However, our Sports Minister, Limor Livnat, went further than ever. Foolish talk such as “we’ve stumbled upon a terrible administration” was never heard before, and American officials are asking why Obama deserves this.

 

The time has come to set the record straight and look into what exactly is being done by the current American president for the State of Israel’s sake. Ten months after he entered the White House, we can clearly say that Obama continues to safeguard of all the major interests pertaining to Israel’s security and welfare. He makes sure to maintain its qualitative advantage and preserves the intimate intelligence and security ties.

 

Israel continues to be at the top of the list of US aid recipients – about $3 billion annually in ongoing defense aid, and further aid beyond it aimed at developing special arms and mostly anti-missile defense systems, topped by the Arrow 3 project. The administration, which cut America’s defense budget, could have undermined its aid to the project and insisted on a US-made missile, yet it did not do it. A terrible president could have also ordered the removal of the American radar system from Israel. This radar can spot a moving baseball 2,000 kilometers away and is being operated by Americans.

 

Indeed, the current administration has been declaring in every opportunity its obligation to protect the State of Israel’s security, while backing up its words in practice.

 

President Obama promised Netanyahu to enter tactical and time-limited dialogue with Iran, and assess the move’s success by the end of the year. In practice, Obama is not even waiting for year’s end. At this time, the Americans are pressing on all diplomatic fronts in a bid to advance Iran sanctions. Obama also promised Netanyahu to shift to harsh sanctions and keep the military option on the table, despite pressure by leftist supporters in the US to stop talking about it.

 

Meanwhile, the president adopted significant steps vis-à-vis the Russians in order to enlist their support to the Iran cause, including a change in priorities in deploying American missiles. It is unclear whether annulling President Bush’s plan to deploy US missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic was made in the framework of a deal with Russia for the sake of the effort against Iran, yet in practice it appears that President Medvedev is cooperating with Obama on the Iranian front.

 

Part 2 of analysis to be published Tuesday evening

 

Yitzhak Benhorin is Ynet’s correspondent in Washington

 

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