You can play the national pastime — the American national pastime, that is — on a baseball diamond in Ra’anana, one of the few fields of dreams in all of the country.
In this affluent Tel Aviv suburb, you can get Gatorade there, too, and American candies can be had on the grocery store shelves. And you can join the Penn Club and reminisce about the old college days in Philadelphia.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke again this week of shortly resuming Palestinian peace talks, an upbeat message echoed here by Israeli President Shimon Peres.
“The government of Benjamin Netanyahu is going to make peace,” Peres declared at a luncheon last week organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
Peres’ optimism came following a one-hour meeting at the White House with President Barack Obama.
James Besser |
The smart money (is there such a thing when it comes to American presidents and Israeli prime ministers?) says, No friction.
The atmospherics (the Israeli prime minister won’t utter the words “two-state solution” and his foreign minister wants to ignore prior accords, while the American president wants an end to settlement building) say, Friction galore.
Hamas’ offer Monday of a 10-year truce with Israel provided it retreat to its pre-1967 borders and grant the right of return to Palestinian refugees was seen in Israel as nothing more than an attempt to grab headlines.
“They don’t want to be frozen out,” said Asher Susser, a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University.
James Besser |
In a speech that could be a dry run for his upcoming meetings with President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said his government is ready to “resume peace negotiations” with the Palestinians “without any delay, without any preconditions, the sooner the better” and called for a “triple-track” approach that includes political as well as economic and security negotiations.
In a hint at how he might approach dealing with diplomacy should he be named Israel’s next ambassador to Washington, as widely reported, Michael Oren said in New York on Monday that “it would be preferable to excise the word ‘solution’” when dealing with Mideast tensions and talk rather “about better managing the conflict and moving toward” answers.