James D. Besser
Special To The Jewish Week
Israel is — once again — a hot issue in presidential politics, at least in the narrow confines of the Jewish community, but U.S. policy in the region is unlikely to change dramatically no matter what the Nov. 6 outcome. And what changes do occur will be shaped by broader U.S. interests — foreign and domestic — and by an unprecedented environment of upheaval in the region, not by the pro-Israel rhetoric both parties now regard as politically mandatory on the campaign trail.
Ehud Olmert, who resigned in disgrace as prime minister in 2008 to face corruption charges, is now being seen by some in Israel as the “great white hope” of the center-left to defeat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in next year’s election.
After recently being cleared of the most serious of several bribery charges that compelled his resignation, Olmert is being quoted by several sources as seriously considering reentering the political arena.
Jerusalem — The Aroma Café in the Germany Colony was pretty full on Tuesday night at 8, but virtually no one appeared to be giving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s televised announcement about early elections the slightest bit of attention.
Of those within earshot, one young woman was focused on her cell phone messages while another 20-something applied green highlighter to an academic paper.
By using a Wile E. Coyote-style stick drawing of a bomb and a red marker in his United Nations speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time clarified the difference between Israel’s red line and President Barack Obama’s when it comes to stopping Iran’s quest for a nuclear bomb.
It’s the difference between enriching uranium to weapons-grade purity — Netanyahu’s red line — vs. the U.S. position that it will wait to see if Iran develops a trigger mechanism to create such a bomb.