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. â€¨
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.