Surrounded by fighting and upheaval, Israel remains in a sensitive position. I was in Israel last June and could see how vibrant the country has become. Tel Aviv is a bustling, thriving, prosperous city. In Jerusalem, even the Old City is surrounded by new upscale businesses you would expect to find in New York City. But that’s only half of the story.
The ice is thin. Egypt can no longer be counted on for any positive expressions. As Syria crumbles, radical Islamic fighters pour in. The clock continues to thick in Iran. The threat continues.
Part of the problem is Washington, D.C..
The Israeli Jewish population favored Mitt Rowney by almost a three to one margin. In the United States, Jews voted Obama by a 63% margin. A BBC poll found 21 countries favored Obama by 50% with only 9% for Romney. However, in Israel only 21.5% leaned toward Obama. Although never mentioned, tension between Presidents Obama and Netanyahu had created considerable unrest in Israel. Last springs the IDF air force was prepared to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, but the U.S. State Department put a foot on the brake. Earlier Obama botched an attempt at Israel-Palestinian peacemaking. He has already personally acknowledged this mistake during his first term. Of course, this problem did not sit well in Israel.
American political nonsense during the past three years kept rumors alive that President Obama was a Moslem. I personally heard him say that he deeply needed “his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” No, Barrack Obama is not a Moslem. He is a Christian. However, his administration has wisely sought a balanced approach to the Moslems and Arabs. With the current upheaval in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, the USA needs to have a foot in both camps for the well-being of this country. The Obama administration has attempted to achieve this goal although it probably is impossible to do so and stay balanced.
The larger problem for Israel is that Obama’s reelection presents a definite problem. For the first time in four decades, Israeli leaders as well as Netanyahu believe they cannot depend on the United States as a protector. Israel must fear that Obama will not fight to contain Iran’s aggressive policies. Even as a credible threat from a nuclear-armed Iran moves forward, the USA judgment on what constitutes a real danger will differ sharply from Israel’s viewpoint.
This dilemma is not all bad. The Obama administration knows that this country has been stretched thin by military conflict in the Middle East. In my opinion, we should have gotten out of Afghanistan yesterday. War has not only cost us an exorbitant amount of money, but the finest American lives from every state have been sacrificed. We have learned that it is easier to talk about fighting than to execute the assaults.
However, Israel must now face the possibility of fighting larger or smaller wars by itself. They must consider facing Arab threats of aggression alone. Facing the possibility of Iran possessing nuclear armaments is a life and death issues for Israel. The issues have always been tough for the Jews, but they certainly won’t get any easier in 2013.
What’s ahead? The Jewish people will remain resolute, but they are traveling on a rough sea in a storm. Let us pray that the boat holds.