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President Obama
Photo by Raymond Hall

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo by Raymond Hall


Uri Elitzur, November 8, 2012

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA 7 November 2012 - IMRA translation from Op Ed appearing in Makor Rishon on 2 November 2012]

[Uri Elitzur, served as Benjamin Netanyahu's bureau chief during his first term as prime minister]

Second headline: The Foreign Policy Of The USA Is Not Set By The Personal Sympathy Of The President. Tense Personal Relation Are Preferable For Israel.

Further to this another remark before we know who will be the next president. Most Israelis, and me among them, justifiably wish a victory for Romney. But there is a huge exaggeration in the fears and the oy –vavoy (oh my God) that are expected for us in the event that Obama wins.

Obama doesn't like us in general and can't stand Netanyahu in particular, but the time has come to free ourselves from the childish thoughts as if the policies of the Unites States are set according to the personal loves and
hates of the president.

The foreign policy of the USA is set somehow via the balance of powers between the State Department that always was against us and the Congress that was always for us. The world view of the president sets something, but not his personal loves and not what is called "chemistry".

During the period of Obama, who didn't love us, the security ties between the two states strengthened greatly, America cast a veto in the UN on our behalf, and on the matter of Iran the US went on the path that Netanyahu
pushed with great effort, even if not with joy or enthusiasm.  None of these had anything to do with personal chemistry.

If there is a connection it is the opposite.

It is not a healthy situation for Israel to be in a situation in which the president of the United States is hugging our prime minister and pouring love on him.

When a big and small figure are good friends, the small one fulfills every request of the big one because it is unpleasant to refuse him, this while the big one can easily allow himself to say "no" to the requests of the
small one.

When a big figure and small figure carry out negotiations in an atmosphere of distance and reservations, it is easier for the small figure to take a stand, defer proposals, make conditions and sometimes refuse.

The overt and publicized friendship between Bush and Sharon completely crippled Sharon against every American request and pressure. In contrast to this the personal hostility between Clinton and Netanyahu gave Netanyahu the
ability to maneuver when dealing with Clinton and not once and not twice, I saw with my own eyes, that this put the two of them in the position of two traders bargaining between themselves in a give and take of equals.

Facing Obama, whose worldview is conciliatory and pro-Islamic and for whom Israel is a kind of impediment, this is particularly true.

On a diplomatic level the prime minister of Israel must be armed with good ties with other elements in the government and public opinion. On a personal level it is preferable and desirable for him to develop cold and
suspicious relations, to always face the president for a diplomatic duel and never for a love fest, and to whisper to himself at every meeting: "just not chemistry".

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