Israeli MKs take sides in US presidential race

Ministers claim indifference due to American bi-partisan support for Israel; Meretz throws Obama party; Tibi remains ambivalent.

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November 6, 2012 19:42
2 minute read.
Obama, Romney in Israel

Obama, Romney in Israel 370. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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While ministers would not choose a side ahead of the US presidential election on Tuesday, several MKs and parties took a stance for US president Barack Obama or Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

Israel is indifferent to the outcome of the US election, as the Jewish state will continue to enjoy bi-partisan American support irrespective of who wins, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told Israel Radio Tuesday.

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Responding to whether Israel expects a potentially re-empowered Barack Obama to apply pressure on Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians, Ayalon stressed that "Israel does not need any pressure in order to make peace or to reach diplomatic agreements." Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz denied that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tried to get involved in the US election.

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"Israel will not reveal which candidate it prefers," he told Army Radio on Monday. "We are not intervening and do not favor anyone. Those of us who have a preference are keeping it to ourselves." However, not everyone in the Likud kept his stance to himself.

MK Danny Danon (Likud) said "Obama made many mistakes in his foreign policy and his appeasing, ingratiating treatment of the Muslim world, and has brought extremism to the region." In September, Danon published a book in the US titled Israel: The Will to Prevail, in which he described what he called Obama's mistakes in dealing with the Middle East.

The Likud MK said he is sure Romney will be better for Israel and the Likud.



MK Arieh Eldad (National Union) called Obama "the most hostile president to Israel in recent decades." "The money sent to aid Israeli security following pressure from Congress cannot hide Obama's attempts to push Israel into a suicidal corner and try to force the establishment of a Palestinian state," Eldad stated. "Obama also prevented Israel from attacking the Iranian nuclear industry on time, putting Israel under an existential threat."

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta'al) expressed ambivalence about both candidates, calling Obama the "default choice."

"I wanted Barack Obama to win four years ago, because he symbolized a refreshing change, but his stances in the last four years on the Palestinian issue were disappointing and passive," Tibi said.

"Obama surrendered to [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu's dictates."

At the same time, Tibi said Romney is the candidate of Netanyahu and right wing American-Jewish philanthropist Sheldon Adelson, who is "conservative and capitalist," so he still prefers Romney.

Meanwhile, Meretz threw its support behind the incumbent, throwing a "Mesi-bama," a combination of mesiba (party) and Obama at party headquarters in Tel Aviv Tuesday night.

"We'll stay up all night with giant televisions and a ton of alcohol for the 'Mesi-bama' on the roof of Meretz headquarters," the invitation reads. "If Obama wins, we'll be very happy. If Romney wins, the alcohol will help."

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