During the election, much was made of Obama’s popularity abroad: an MSN poll of over half a million people from 36 countries showed that President Obama was favored over Governor Romney by an astounding 81% of those questioned. Yet Obama was not so popular in a country that was not among the 36 surveyed in the MSN research: Israel. A similar study done by Tel Aviv University reported that only 22% of Jewish Israelis supported Barack Obama’s reelection.
Why was there such a disconnect with young Israelis? Perhaps their apprehension can be attributed to our leader's affinity with the Islamic world and the numerous perceived slights senior Israeli leaders have received from him. In addition he did not visit Israel as president, although he did travel there as a presidential candidate in 2008. After winning a large percentage of the Jewish American vote, as Democrats traditionally do; his seeming ambivalence or lukewarm treatment has given heartburn to both Jews and evangelical Christians.
Middle East analyst Aaron David Miller echoed the concerns of many when he wrote in the July 2012 edition of Foreign Policy, “My sense is that, if he could get away with it, the president would like to see a U.S.-Israeli relationship that is not just less exclusive, but somewhat less special as well.”
The modern state of Israel is not a stranger to defending itself against bordering countries bent on its destruction. Time and time again, the tiny country has shocked the world with its ability to stand up to its larger neighbors. In June of 1967, Israel simultaneously defeated Egypt, Syria, Jordan as well as Syria- supported Palestinian guerrilla groups (and other mercenary forces) in an astounding victory known as the Six Days War.
This month, for the first time in over forty years, terrorists fired missiles into Jerusalem and Tel Aviv from Gaza, which borders Egypt. A barrage of hundreds of rockets pounded Israel, launched from the Hamas terrorist group. Only the providence of God and Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system has miraculously prevented major casualties. It is little wonder that Israel is preparing for a ground invasion of Gaza. A year ago last spring, during my first trip to Israel, I was shocked at how close Gaza is to Israel.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.