Netanyahu had a rough morning on Wednesday. Diplomatic manners cannot conceal the disappointment of someone who just got Obama in the White House for another four years, Naftali Bennett as head of the Jewish Home party and a frustrated Sara in the Prime Minister's Residence.
It's hard to tell which of these pains Netanyahu more. It would not be a stretch to claim that for Netanyahu the election of Bennett, a former chief of staff in Netanyahu's office who is now hated by the prime minister and his wife, was just as painful as Obama's reelection. Personal matters, as we know, can sometimes outweigh national issues.
But Obama's reelection, which everyone but Netanyahu took into consideration, could have been much less painful and damaging to Israel had the prime minister conducted himself differently.
Imagine how different things would be if instead of initiating a purposeless confrontation with Obama over Iran, Netanyahu would have publicly lauded some aspects of Washington's policy vis-à-vis the nuclear crisis and quietly protested, behind closed doors, other aspects.
Netanyahu's conduct will affect us all. Israel's foreign policy and its relations with the US are not Netanyahu's private domain, but an existential asset of the State of Israel. Netanyahu should never have gambled on this asset.
Israeli sources said this week that American vengeance, unlike Turkish vengeance, is not blatant. Rather, it develops slowly with a series of minor incidents until it reaches a breaking point: Delayed budgets, cancelled training sessions for pilots, etc. Suddenly, attempts to purchase American companies or technologies are not approved by Washington for reasons related to "national security."
Undoubtedly, America will remain committed to Israel's security and continued existence. The US will not take Israel hostage because of Netanyahu's conduct, but anything beyond that – we should expect to get the cold shoulder.