Rumor has it that before summer’s end, Israel will have a new government. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to call an early election, in presumably in preparation for the elections here in the U.S. He is gearing up for the possibility that Obama will win a second term. Netanyahu apparently perceives our current administration as his greatest adversary, primarily over his handling – or not handling – the Palestinian question.
Netanyahu’s Likud party, while unlikely to garner a majority in the Knesset – Israel’s parliament – remains at least a little popular if only because of its stance on the question of recognizing a Palestinian state. Couple this with problems in the opposition party, Kadima, and it is easier to see why Israel is looking at early elections this year.
But beyond political maneuvering in Israel, there are other issues in the region to consider, at least to understand why this all could play out to the advantage of the Romney camp. If you couple Netanyahu’s desire to double-down on his current Palestinian policy with the fact that interest in the issue is apparently flagging in the Arab world, this could be yet another reason for the Romney camp to focus on Jewish voters here. As economic issues take the forefront for many in the Arab Spring nations, the question of an independent Palestinian nation is less important – a case of personal needs trumping ideology.
Back to Netanyahu, he knows it’s likely that Obama would focus on Palestine in a second term. It is foolish to assume that he would not consider reaching out to Jewish voters in the U.S. himself, albeit unofficially, and gently suggest that it would be better for Israel if Obama didn’t get a second term. And it would be foolish for the Romney camp to not point out these issues. But that requires focusing on issues, as opposed to fluff.