Alliances between states do not require meetings between leaders, exchanges of ambassadors and declarations of support and affection. Mutual interests that the parties understand and act upon are sufficient.
He has warmed hearts here and gained trust, making up for a sour first impression left during his previous term as president. But despite all the gains, Obama still has to convince Netanyahu on a timetable for attacking Iran, as well as on issues of the West Bank and settlements.
The region is still important to the United States, but less so than it was a decade or two ago; meanwhile, Israel’s dependence on the U.S. continues to grow.
But visit will not bring about the end of the occupation, the dismantling of settlements, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank, or even the destruction of the Iranian nuclear program.
If the left wants to turn things around, it has to refresh its message and find a leader who will connect it to the mainstream.
Despite his disappointing results at the ballot box, Netanyahu has successfully leveraged his negotiating position to create a right-wing government that is outwardly aggressive and inwardly nationalistic.
The battle for control over the Chief Rabbinate is not between moderates and extremists, or between enlightened members of religious Zionism against the uneducated Haredim, but rather between two aggressive groups that are fighting over the fees paid by the public