In reaction to President Barack Obama's reelection, a top Israeli newspaper is warning, "start filling your sandbags. We're in for a rough ride." The column, written by David M. Weinberg, is published today in Israel Hayom.
"I’d like to believe that President Barack Obama's re-election means nothing significant for U.S.-Israel relations, since “all Democratic and Republican presidents over the past four decades have been solidly pro-Israel” — as Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom argued on Israel Radio this morning. But Shalom is putting a pretty face on a forbidding situation," writes Weinberg.
"Obama’s re-election means that Ehud Olmert is going to run against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming Jan. 2013 Israeli election. It means that Obama is going to intervene aggressively in our election to boost Olmert. It means that a push for immediate Palestinian statehood is back on the international agenda. Most worrisome of all, it means that an American 'grand bargain' with the Iranians, possibly at our expense, is on the table."
Weinberg believes Obama will, facing domestic gridlock, turn his attention abroad. "In his second term, Obama will be seeking to fashion a long-term legacy. With Congress still at a deadlock, he will have difficulty aggressively advancing his domestic agenda. That leaves foreign affairs and defense policy, where he has a freer hand," writes Weinberg.
On matters that directly affect Israel, remember that Obama is deeply committed to three things: global nuclear disarmament, rapprochement with the Islamic world, and Palestinian statehood. I believe that he will forcefully act to progress on all three fronts, and this could bring him into conflict with Israel.
The columnist concludes, "So start filling your sandbags. We’re in for a rough ride."
For the prime minister of Israel's part, he congratulates Obama on his electoral victory. "On behalf of the people of Israel and in my name, I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to you and to the American people on your being elected for a second term. It is a triumph for the American democracy," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu writes in a letter to Obama.