Jerusalem – The Israeli cabinet ministers and Israeli Knesset members quickly joined their colleagues from around the world on Wednesday and congratulated President-elect Barack Obama on his historic victory in the presidential race.

Off the record, Jerusalem officials voiced their concerns about Mr. Obama’s election. He remains perceived as an enigma by the Israeli leadership. 


The concerned Israeli government officials are afraid that Mr. Obama will try to bring the Muslim world closer to the United States by means of payments with Israeli currency -stepping up pressure on Israel to make concessions and withdrawals and an attempt to force it to accept a peace accord.

Conversely, a senior official in the Foreign Ministry said “that’s just a feeling that isn’t based on anything. The die’s been cast, Obama’s been elected, and we’re going to need to find ways of working with him as quickly as we can. All of that talk is simply ridiculous.”

Israeli officials are concerned about a possible dialogue between Mr. Obama and the Iranians as well as the possible appointment of a presidential emissary for talks with Iran. The concern is that Mr. Obama will focus on a dialogue with Iran, despite the Islamic republic’s continuing efforts to advance its nuclear program.

But some people in Israel are confident that Mr. Obama won’t show any weakness towards Iran, and he will try to exhaust the option of dialogue with it but won’t take the military option off the table.

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.