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Bibi and Obama in Love?

Author: Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus and Board Senior Fellow
March 22, 2013
Daily Beast


Who would have thought it possible? Only in the Holy Land, home to miracles, could we gaze upon Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu embracing President Obama, the very man he bludgeoned publicly and tried to help defeat in the U.S. elections last November. Obama, who previously had no clue about the kind of love Israelis needed, effectively reciprocated with policy words to make Bibi blush. These words are good and smart, perhaps even designed to buffer the knocks that lie ahead when Obama must make decisions that will probably rattle Bibi on Syria and chemical weapons, Iran, and peace talks with the Palestinians.

This high drama took a temporary back seat as Obama paid a dutiful visit to the West Bank and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. There, he made modest protestations about a two-state solution, one Jewish, one Palestinian, and about future negotiations to that end. Then, he rolled back to Israel, where he appreciated Israel's precious Dead Sea Scrolls (the earliest known books of the Hebrew Bible) and then to the memorial for Theodore Herzl, the father of Zionism and Israel as the home for the Jewish people. He will also visit Yad Vashem, the memorial to Jews who perished in the Holocaust. These are the sacred sites for Israel and for a U.S. president to show his love, the touchstones for anyone who truly understands the aching and insecurity of ever-persecuted Jews and the home they re-found in Israel.

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