Israel is sitting this one out — or rather, most of Israel is.
While the two US political parties have unabashedly dragged Israel into the presidential race, most but not all of Israeli officialdom and leaders have been careful to avoid stepping into the election minefield.
Netanyahu raised the Iran issue – and the ire of Democrats – during the US presidential campaign, but was careful in his UN speech and at other recent opportunities to praise Obama. And he seems to have backed off his criticism in recent weeks, reportedly because he reached some sort of modus vivendi with the Obama White House related to his concerns about Iran’s nuclear enrichment efforts.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, meanwhile, has been unabashed in his praise for Obama’s upgrading of US military cooperation with Israel – something Democrats keep reminding American Jews.
But not all Israeli politicians are taking the responsible path, perhaps because their own political future does not rest in responsibly handling Israel’s relationship with its largest and most important ally.
“We do not interfere [in the US elections],” Likud firebrand Danny Danon told the right-wing Arutz Sheva this evening (Israel-time), and then continued: “Now we can say that President Obama was not good for Israel. We should not be hypocrites and say that everyone is good. Obama greatly supported Islam and he will pay a very heavy price; he lost sympathy in the Jewish street and in Israel, and also many Christians are disappointed in him.”
Danon is following former Mossad head Efraim Halevy, who also unabashedly waded into the US election in Israel’s name, slamming Romney’s policies on Iran (and using his gravitas as a former Mossad chief.) He told Al Monitor (http://www.al-monitor.com/
Halevy added in a New York Times oped in October (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/