Netanyahu supporters wary of Obama

November 7, 2012

JERUSALEM -- In the warren of alleys that forms Jerusalem’s open air market, men sat in a café playing cards and backgammon Wednesday, with hardly a mention of the U.S. elections. There was no TV on the wall, no newspapers being passed around.

Still, Shlomo Mizrahi had something to say, proving that all politics is local, particularly as Israel moves toward its own election in January.  

“It’s not good,” Mizrahi, a supporter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said of the outcome of the American vote. “The leftist parties here are using Obama’s win to tell people not to vote for Netanyahu. They’re saying that Netanyahu will clash with him, and that Obama will take revenge.”

Netanyahu, who is favored to win the election here, has had a cool relationship with Obama and was widely seen to have favored Mitt Romney. His opponents are trying to paint him as a diplomatic liability, a leader who will jeopardize Israel’s relations with a more resolute second-term president.

Herzl Pinhasi piped up that continuity at the White House was better.

“Obama isn’t good for us, because from day one he’s been giving Netanyahu trouble,” he said. “But at least you know where he stands. The alternative could have turned out worse. You never know.”

And with that, the men went back to their games.

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Olga Khazan | November 7, 2012