We already know about Obama's commonsensical observation about Israel's right to survival, offered during the campaign. "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night," he told an audience in Israel in the summer, "I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing."
He has been criticized for not bringing his sentiments up to date, but silence can be useful. During the four-month interim between Lincoln's election and his taking the oath of office, he was scolded for his silence, too. But Lincoln was both intuitive and gifted in knowing when to speak and when not to speak.
"(He was) gathering the intelligence and momentum needed to arm himself for the brutal challenge awaiting him," writes Harold Holt in his book "Lincoln: President Elect." Obama frequently compares himself to Lincoln, so we can hope he's using his time to similarly reflect.
By putting himself in the shoes of an Israeli father, as Hamas hurls rockets into homes where his children are sleeping, Obama defuses the criticism of those who say Israel's defensive war is "disproportionate." When he sits in the Oval Office, he will be better prepared to mediate peace between Israel and a weakened Hamas. We weep for the children on both sides in this continuing war, but we remember that only Hamas uses children as human shields for the rocket launchers it installed in their schoolyards.
The Wall Street Journal describes Israel's invasion of Gaza as its version of the "surge," observing that "Israel, with enemies on all sides, must maintain an aura of invincibility if it is to have any chance of peaceful co-existence."
Israel's enemies are legion, and they are poised to test Obama's willingness to sit down with them without preconditions. But when he becomes President Obama, he must remember the sleeping children of Israel.