Dear Friends of Israel,
The election results from the United States caused a great deal of suspense in Israel. One reporter even wrote, “One had the impression that these were Israel’s elections.” Actually, the Israeli government, and particularly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had hoped for a victory by Mitt Romney. That led to accusations from Netanyahu’s opponents that he was meddling in the internal affairs of the United States. Some feared that this open optimism for Romney could damage the relationship between Israel and the United States, if Obama were re-elected instead of Romney. With Obama’s victory, that scenario is beginning to unfold.
Netanyahu had hoped that a republican government, led by Mitt Romney, would lead to a more decisive policy against Iran and greater understanding for his government’s position regarding the Palestinians. However, before anything that relates to these issues changes in America, the elections in Israel will take place this coming January. Many Israelis are placing a great deal of hope in these elections. It is unlikely however that there will be much change in the political balance here either. That means that Obama and Netanyahu will have to continue working together for the next few years, which is apparently something that Netanyahu did not wish.
Furthermore, pressure against Israel will mount and there will be demands to make progress in the so-called peace process. That also means progress toward a two-state solution, which is something that Netanyahu’s government would prefer to delay or even prevent. Obama avoided putting any pressure on Israel before his re-election, in order not to lose critical support. He really doesn’t need to take that into consideration anymore.
The success of the Democrats in the United States can at least partially be attributed to their understanding of the generational changes and accounting of the population shifts. Those same factors could potentially cause a few surprises in Israel, since demonstrations and protests for greater social justice and support for the socio-economically disadvantaged have been going on more or less continuously for quite some among young people.
Netanyahu tried to use the Iranian threat to build an international alliance, which was certainly successful, to some extent. Obama refused however, to make that a high priority. He did promise Israel the unconditional support of the United States, but stated that War would only come into question in the direst emergency. That position can obviously be credited toward Obama’s rise in popularity. The majority of Americans do not wish to be pulled into further, expensive military conflicts – they’ve already had plenty of those.
The fact that Mitt Romney belongs to the Mormon church is probably part of the reason for the limited enthusiasm he receives as a candidate in the conservative party. Good or bad, there’s no choice other than to accept that the election results are in God’s hands and that He has everything under His control.
One must simply heed Paul’s admonishment in I Timothy 2:2, to pray “for kings and all those in authority, that we may lead peaceful and quiet lives in godliness and holiness.”
Joined together in our vital obligation, to offer intercessionary prayers for our leaders, I wish you a restful and reflective Christmas and New Year’s celebration.