How far will the Democrats go to prove that President Barack Obama has a brag-worthy Israel record? Well, if it is the National Jewish Democratic Committee, the answer is now available: twenty minutes southeast of Ashkelon. Yup, you got it. Not Netivot to make a hopeful pilgrimage to the Baba Sali''s tomb or to pick up an amulet or two (it didn''t even necessarily help out Shas in Israel). The other place - the one with the really pretty decent kebab place opposite city hall, and a phenomenal milkshake and garlic bread joint down the street. You know, the one with the small projectile problem?
Yes, the NJDC has a new video to push Obama to Jewish fence-sitters. In it, real, live Israelis in Sderot and Jerusalem thank POTUS for his beneficence in helping Israel''s security - and particularly for the spectacular Iron Dome project which has somewhat reduced the aforementioned projectile problem.
Sderot resident Albert Tsadikov offers Obama enthusiastic reviews throughout the video: "We know that as long as President Obama is in office, we can sleep peacefully and worry free," he says at first. "I want to thank you President Obama from all the citizens of Sderot for supporting us. And I want to wish you Good Luck."
Some of the subtitles offer translations that have been mildly....well, made more mild. Jacob Dahan, filmed with a background of cleaning supplies told cameras "everyone at first was afraid and concerned, but we were pleasantly surprised." Somehow, that first clause ended up "At first, we were not so certain about Obama. But, fortunately for us, we had a pleasant surprise." Close, but the "afraid and concerned" somehow gained a certain ambiguity in the translation.
All in all, for this homesick ex-pat twice over, the video reminded me of everything I missed in the hot Israeli summer. Mostly, I miss living in a place where everybody reads newspapers, and where everyone - even the man selling your floor cleaner - is an amateur political commentator.
Will this make American Jews feel that Obama sufficiently supports Israel? The profuse thanks at the end seem a bit...patronized, if that''s the word for someone who allows themselves to be at the receiving end of noblesse oblige. But the Israelis are, in fact, real, live Israelis, and the rockets are real, and the Iron Dome is a very cool piece of anti-weaponry that was completed and deployed during the Obama years. The Obama administration - and both sides of Congress, for that matter - have consistently supported the budget for developing the system, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Ironically, the decision to develop Iron Dome was made in 2007 by then-defense minister Amir Peretz, possibly the most ridiculed DM in the history of Israel. The NJDC can only hope that it will help Obama''s ratings more than it did Peretz''s.
- Rebecca Anna Stoil