President Obama sent out his greeting for the High Holidays on Thursday night, and while it didn’t reference the traditional term atonement, it did it include a reference to rapprochement.
“The Jewish Tradition teaches us that one of the most important duties we have during this period is the act of reconciliation,” he says in the video.
Now, one shouldn’t, of course, read too much into this turn of phrase. But by any chance could this be a message to Prime Minister Netanyahu?
After all, Bibi traded barbs with senior US officials over several days earlier this month over whether the US would set out red lines on when it would strike Iran to keep it from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It was an exchange that earned a rare condemnation of an Israeli PM by a senator strongly supportive of the Jewish state.
On Tuesday night the two leaders held an hour-long middle-of-the-night-Israel-time phone call. Was there any recitation of the traditional plea for forgiveness in that thorough conversation?
The verbal back-and-forth pulled in Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney as well. The former Massachusetts governor told George Stephanopoulos of ABC in an interview aired Friday that, “My red line is Iran may not have a nuclear weapon. It is inappropriate for them to have the capacity to terrorize the world.
Romney acknowledged that this was the same as Obama’s red line, but that he would pursue that goal differently, with measures such as stricter sanctions and efforts to diplomatically isolate Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
So far, that statement has not proved sufficient for Israel, which wants to know precisely which steps by Iran would trigger America’s use of force. Implied is that short of such a declaration from the US, Israel might act itself.