My Parent the President

Reading American politics through the Israeli and Jewish media is like looking at a solar eclipse through a very special filter; not a classical dark one but a very special and private one; rarely pink, often black, but always custom made, never off-the-shelf. Different than the rest of the onlookers are the Israelis: they all watch the democratic celebration of Mother US. We, on the other hand, are personally involved.

During election time in the US you couldn't avoid the feeling amongst us that every four years a few hundred millions of American voters are going to the ballot box in order to exercise their democratic right and elect the best president for....Israel. For months and weeks before election day, we Israelis and many Jews abroad, argue, debate and disagree with heat and emotion about my late Mom's, classical Jewish dilemma: Is this one good for the Jews or bad for the Jews.

So how is Obama doing? Is he good or bad for us? If you ask those who, like a robot, applauded Prime Minister Netanyahu at the AiPac convention last week -- he is bad, very bad. He's so bad that many here and overseas see him as a real threat, if not a concrete enemy, to Israel. For me. However, he is the best President of the time with the potential to be the best ever.

It has been a while since I suspended reading the world eventualities through the ancient, survivor mentality; through the locked and blocked keyhole of my mom. For me a good President for Israel is any President who is good for his people and good for the world. Israel is not, and should not be, a domain of itself. It should neither be an oasis nor an isolated island.

We are part of a larger family of nations and cannot behave as the only spoilt, though traumatized, child of this family. Whatever is good for humanity in general must be good for us as well. Speaking of children and family, the American president is a kind of a parent of the free world. Therefore, I expect him to behave like a good one. A good parent is one who knows and dares to say "No" to his child if or when needed. According to this George W. Bush was the worst president ever. As a parent of the world and the responsible adult of Israel -- he never said no. He was the most permissive and therefore the most damaging president ever. He allowed our governments to act and put to work policies and actions that pushed us away from reconciliation and further away from a potential peace accord. That's bad.

Now Obama is saying No to the whimsy Israeli child. No, mister Prime Minister, you cannot go on with the illusion. No, you cannot maintain peace lip-service and ongoing practical oppression and occupation. Not on my shift. From the place I am coming from, Mr. Netanyahu, the ancient Israelite call of liberty "Let My People Go" is still echoing, obligating and binding. This Biblical high subpoena is so universal and widely accepted that even you, the contemporary elected heir of Moses, must respect it.

I, as a Jew and Israeli, love the attitude of my current parent in Washington D.C. It is not nice, and not easy, but it is so right and so good. Finally I have somebody who really cares for me. Not in Jerusalem unfortunately, but luckily there in D.C. Happy Passover, dear President; please help my people go, from slavery to freedom, from war to peace. Because a Pharaoh you are not.