Obama and Netanyahu at White House (archives)
Photo: Avi Ohayon, GPO
Israel on the roulette table
Op-ed: Obama created tense relations with Netanyahu by choosing Cairo over Jerusalem

Secretly, Netanyahu would have like to see Romney in the White House. People, like countries, have a tendency to connect to those who smile at them. Netanyahu would have loved to help Romney get elected and get rid of Obama's bitterness and the tense relations. But the Israeli prime minister never went public with these wishes.


Despite what his opponents claim, Netanyahu did not bet on Romney. The PM is not the gambling type (even though Sheldon Adelson, one of his biggest donors, is a gaming tycoon). You cannot accuse Netanyahu of being hesitant and unable to make decisions and at the same time allege that he is a wild gambler who takes risks.


Netanyahu did not create the tension with Obama. We should not confuse the victim with the rapist. It was Obama who chose to Cairo over Jerusalem; it was Obama who was photographed with his legs on the table while speaking with Netanyahu over the phone; and it was Obama who coerced Netanyahu into freezing construction in the settlements.


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Obama's first term as president was problematic not only for Netanyahu, it was problematic for the entire State of Israel. The official support continues, but the fondness has vanished. Regardless of his relations with Netanyahu, Obama viewed Israel as a burden in the Middle East rather than a strategic asset.


On Wednesday Netanyahu will be accused of gambling on our future. If Romney would have won people would have talked about Netanyahu's luck, but since Obama won, Netanyahu will be accused of jeopardizing Israel's strategic ties with the US. The slogans are ready, as are the banners.


Perhaps a different prime minister would have been able to sustain a better relationship between Jerusalem and Washington, but the only gambler here was Obama, the president who put Israel on the roulette table four years ago and dreamt of winning the jackpot. The results, by the way, are not that great.



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