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March 27, 2015 5:20 pm

Leading US Rabbi Joins Chorus of Concern Over Obama Administration’s Attacks on Israel

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Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, led by Rabbi Haskel Lookstein. Photo: Wikipedia.

One of America’s most prominent rabbis, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, has voiced concern over the Obama Administration’s latest assault on Israel, following the reelection of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu last week.

In an email to congregants on Wednesday, Lookstein, the spiritual leader of New York City’s famed Kehilath Jeshurun synagogue and principal of the prestigious Ramaz school, said that while “I try to steer clear of politics in my sermons and in messages to the community. There are times, however, when an exception should be made.”

“One of those times is now,” the rabbi continued, “when reports are coming from the administration in Washington of a need for reassessing the Israel/United States relationship.” Lookstein, who was ranked by Newsweek in 2008 as the most influential Orthodox pulpit rabbi in the United States, followed with a full-throated endorsement of an article by syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, who argues that “there is zero chance” that the right climate for the establishment of a Palestinian state will come “now or even soon.”

Krauthammer concludes, “In the interim, I understand the crushing disappointment of the Obama administration and its media poodles at the spectacular success of the foreign leader they loathe more than any other on the planet. The consequent seething and sputtering are understandable, if unseemly. Blaming Netanyahu for banishing peace, however, is mindless.”

Lookstein said Krauthammer’s article “presents with utmost clarity an assessment of the reassessment. It deserves the attention of all of us.”

The commentary, first published by The Washington Post, follows a week of harsh criticisms, veiled threats and alleged media leaks by Obama Administration officials directed towards Israel and its newly reelected Prime Minister Netanyahu. The attacks were largely focused on comments Netanyahu made while on the campaign trail about the establishment of a Palestinian state, and Israeli Arabs.

The escalation of rhetoric led to pushback from a number of leading Jewish figures as well as pro-Israel activists and congressional leaders, including some that have traditionally been aligned with the administration.

Writing for The Algemeiner on Thursday, Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, who has been critical of Netanyahu in recent weeks, said he is “even more troubled” by the “statements now coming out of the White House calling for a reassessment of policy toward Israel.”

Foxman wrote, “Let me be clear: I wish Mr. Netanyahu would do more to solidify relations with Israel’s ally in America and to stand up to those in Israel who seek to make impossible a Palestinian state. None of this, however, justifies what we are hearing from the Obama Administration. Their reactions raise deeper questions about their intentions and perspectives.”

Earlier in the week, the dovish American Jewish Committee head, David Harris, said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post that “The fact that the outcome of a Democratic election in Israel seems to be of great concern” to the Obama Administration “is cause for deep anxiety and puzzlement.”

“Whatever the failings of the prime minister, the way this is unfolding runs completely contrary to the spirit of US-Israel relations,” Harris said. “The US appears to have a reasoned interest in prolonging the crisis.”

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  • American

    This traitorous rabbi should get out of the US and go live in his beloved Apartheid Israel. 🙂

    • Jerome J. Levenberg

      Using “American” as your handle is a misnomer. Nazi wold be more appropriate.

  • Rick

    Where were these so called rabbis during the 2008 and 2012 election campaigns?

  • what took him so long?

    • Jerome Levenberg

      Probably due to a concern about tax exempt status.

  • Gordon Gordinsky

    Foxman has GOOD REASON to be “troubled.” Netanyahu if making life more complicated for Jews everywhere. There should be no surprise at the Administration’s actions. Netanyahu is sabotaging the Administration’s work.

    As for David Harris, the issue is not the “outcome of a democratic election,” but the true intentions of the leader who was reelected. The Administration KNOWS what it is doing and in the end, Netanyahu is going to pay a “price tag.”

    Too bad.

    • Yale

      The reality is that Obama is sabotaging US interests in the region for reason or reasons unknown. It is Obama, not Netanyahu, who is screwing up the negotiations with Iran, to the point where they have now floated the possibility that all of this will end with a “non-binding” “verbal” agreement that will enable both sides to claim whatever they want about what the “deal” is.

      Such a deal isn’t even sane.

    • Jerome Levenberg

      Obama is sabotaging the USA and Israel.

  • Dov

    We should not forget that Obama represents the Democratic party and if Democratic Senators do not raise their voices in protest, maybe the time has come for us democratic voters to walk away from the party we were loyal to all our lives.

    A letter to America’s rabbis —

    from Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

    The DC Post ( is proud to convey a letter from Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg (Congregation Beth-El, Edison, New Jersey) to his fellow rabbis nationwide. We agree with Rabbi Rosenberg wholeheartedly and we support his “Rabbis for Romney” in every way. The rabbi’s letter, as sent to more than a thousand colleagues, follows. But first, a prologue from The DC Post’s Michael Podwill:

    Americans can no longer pretend that all is fine with our leadership…with America’s place in a world that’s growing more and more tenuous. We must all take note. And America’s Jews must take special note — because everything is at stake.

    The horrific attacks last week, the murderous display at the US consulate in Benghazi and the disgraceful scenes in Cairo and Tunis, speak volumes. So do the Obama administration’s ongoing apologies and appeasements to Islam. Then there’s that most revealing brouhaha regarding the Democrats and their “conflict” over God, and over Jerusalem’s true status as Israel’s capital.

    We cannot forget this president’s continuous insults — in policy, in behavior — to Israel. The latest, Obama’s apparent refusal to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu, is glaring. Especially now, when the Arab world is exploding. When the threat of a nuclear Iran grows more palpable daily. And when the mullahs’ sickening calls for the obliteration of Israel are met with worldwide silence.

    Prime Minister Netanyahu is correct in expressing consternation at an American president who spends far more time trying to rein in Israel than trying to preclude Iran from going nuclear.

    With greatest respect, we present this letter from Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg:

    To my fellow rabbis:

    I write to you at this time of dire trouble for our country and for Israel.

    Last week America was under attack. Our ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were slaughtered by Muslim extremists. This was not a spontaneous “protest” against an admittedly stupid video. This was an organized military assault, coordinated expressly for execution on September 11.

    Likewise, the “protests” in Cairo at the American embassy. Where our flag was shredded, and the black Islamist flag of al-Qaeda was raised in its place. Reliable sources say the US was forewarned of both attacks — probably by Israel. But America’s State Department ignored those warnings. Why?

    The Obama administration’s reactions to these outrages is sadly typical. The next day, Mr. Obama flew off to Las Vegas to raise funds. And our government still apologizes for that inane video — made by an Egyptian Coptic.

    Where is the leadership here? What has such ongoing appeasement gotten us? Mr. Obama once promised a “reset” of America’s relationship with Muslim nations. But the reality is far different. The Islamic world holds us in greater contempt than ever, seeing Obama’s America as weak and incapable, or unwilling, to defend our interests and our friends.

    On that note, Obama’s policy toward Israel has been a disgrace from the start. It’s as if his goal is to disenfranchise himself — and America — from the Jewish state. To make clear to the world that Israel, should they dare to defend their very existence, will go it alone. Such signals serve only to embolden Israel’s enemies — who are also our enemies.

    The same signal comes from Obama’s latest snub of Bibi Netanyahu — who was told that Obama will not have time to meet with him when the Israeli Prime Minister arrives in America this week. Meanwhile, Obama can regale on the David Letterman. And extend an open invitation to Egypt’s President Morsi.

    Such actions say a lot to the world. Can we stand silent any longer?

    To the 613 “Rabbis for Obama,” in light of the president’s most recent actions, I ask you: What have you got to say now? What are your excuses for President Obama now?

    I say this with all my heart. I cannot keep silent any longer. The voices of my father and my mother, survivors of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, compel me to speak out — with zeal.

    I urge you to consider the following:

    – Silence did not work in the 1930s, when the looming evils of Nazism could have been stopped in their tracks. Nor will it work today when Islamists, who deny the Holocaust, threaten another one in Israel.

    – Why does the United States say nothing about the daily denigration of Jews and Christians by imams worldwide?

    – Why do we tolerate an American media that continues to play dumb when our real interests, and our very lives, are at stake?

    – Why does America continue to send money (and excuse outstanding loans) to Morsi’s Egypt?

    – Why doesn’t America compel Morsi to uphold the peace treaty with Israel? To rein in Hamas? To act like a responsible, civil government?

    – And of utmost importance, why don’t we rabbis come together and insist that the Obama administration express — in words and in deeds — their unequivocal support for Israel during this most challenging of times?

    I started “Rabbis for Romney” as a counterweight to “Rabbis for Obama.” My message at first was not political. But the situation has evolved — or devolved — into one where the danger to Israel is more paramount than ever. Don’t kid yourselves. We are nearing the 11th hour.

    Please join me in my quest to see that America and Israel stay safe from the growing danger that’s all around us.

    We can no longer afford to stay silent. Let us make sure that “Never again” means “NEVER again.”


    Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg

    Note: To join “Rabbis for Romney,” please contact Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg at AS EVERYONE WHEN I WARNED THE JEWS ABOUT OBAMA ?

  • Hello again:
    Barry Sorreto was adopted and schooled by an Indonesian. His grandparents were communists. He does not like ya’ll. Get used to it!!
    Semper Fi and Good Night Chesty Puller Where Ever You Are!!

    • Jerome J. Levenberg

      While there is no proof that Obama is a practicing Muslim, his having been born into that faith and his action and inaction as president clearly demonstrates his sympathies towrads Islam and their followers.



  • Emily Korzenik

    We should keep in mind all the positive support and joint programs that have gone on over the years of the Obama Administration and not push Obama further into the unfortunate corner he has chosen recently.
    Quite apart from Israel’s legitimate concerns relating to Iranian aggression Obama’s foreign policy decisions are baffling. Given Iran’s behavior throughout the region why would Obama trust Iran to keep any agreement?

  • A Jew voting for the Democratic Party today is like a Jew voting for the NAZI Party 70 years ago.

    It really isn’t going to end well.

  • Wm, J, Levy

    With supporters like Abe Foxman and dovish AJC head David Harris its amazing that Israel hasn’t been destroyed already.

    Foxman, a Holocaust survivor, is a total embarrassment to every Jew for being so weak that our enemies love him because he presents no danger to their carrying out attacks against Jews.

    Jews have too many organizations, like they have too many synagogues which they don’t go to. Jews have no unity and won’t fight to protect themselves or other Jews or even their loved ones. They’ll give their lives to total strangers but not for each other. They are truly The Perfect Enemy and Jews will continue to die in Paris. in Brussells, in NYC, in Israel all because Jews won’t fight their enemies but forgive them.

    It doesn’t work and hasn’t history taught you anything?

    Fire Foxman and Harris and Lauder for a start!!!

  • Obama wants to be best friends with Iran, a longstanding enemy of the USA and Israel, and no friends of America’s Arab allies either.With ISIL breathing down the necks of Middle East states, this is no time for a PA state. It is the time to increase PA autonomy combined with IDF security. Hamas are criminals and terrorists, and no donor state should give anything to Hamas. Ideally Egypt should govern Gaza as Egypt did from 1948 to 1967. Obama has twisted and turned out of contexr what Bibi said and, something genuine allies don’t do.

  • Monty Pogoda

    Obama is a Haman in our times, he hates Natanyahu but that hate is extended

    to all of Israels citizens . He too would be happy if there was an Islamic Caliphate in the middle east devoid of Jews

  • steven L

    Six and one half years too late.

  • steven L

    The liberal Jews, reformed, ADL and other get what they asked for.

  • Janice

    Good Rabbi, some of the Jewish have sounded the shofar, too little and too late.

    It was evident since 2008. And many Jewish and others did nothing.

  • DockyWocky

    The rabbi is being too kind to al-Obama and his anti-Israel and frankly, anti-Semitic administration.

    Obama has done potentially permanent damage to the long relationship between the US and Israel – and he has done it purposely and for cheap political reasons simply to assuage his muzlim roots and muzlim-dominated cabeza.

    Everyone knows Obama is a liar. But few realize that he is simply utilizing his ingrained islamic taqiyya – pure deceit – with his personal purposes always hovering darkly in the background. Taking him at his word is something few would do, as his words are not worth the molecules of air he pushes out of his purple lips so easily.

    Taqiyya, I understand, is not a Jewish technique. Why would Jews tolerate it from the president?

  • Victor Gordon

    What we are witnessing from the Obama administration is not statesmanship but the most embarrassing display of a spoiled, petulant kid throwing his toys out of his cot since my 3-year old grand-daughter gave a similar performance before a group of visitors whom we had hoped our little genius would impress … accept this is worse as it comes from an adult so overwhelmed by his own gigantic ego that a clear-headed appreciation of reality appears to be quite beyond him. He will undoubtedly carve a place for himself in history for all the wrong reasons.

  • Obama was looking for an excuse and found one. Had it not been that it would have been something else What else was a closet Muslim anti semitic SOB to do. First he found an excuse then put spin doctors to make it palatable and then gave it to the liberal press to assist him in the betrayal of Israel. Point, game set , mission accomplished Tomorrow
    more slurs etc.etc..

  • OBAMA it is time to put differences aside and get back on track before it makes more damage.
    You have to admit to yourself and realize that Netanyahu is only doing what is best for Israel and all the warnings that he brought up in his congress speech is proving right. It will be interesting to see what comes after Yemen as so far Iran is involved in: Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, Egypt Sinai, Iraq, Libya, Yemen.

  • Luigi Rosolin

    Obama and is administration are clearly an enemy of Israel: Obama Barak is a cover Muslim that is favouring Iran and other Islamic terrorist, Muslim Brotherhood that is so well favour e promote is a criminal fundamentalist one and his half brother and the Clinton with Obama are well directing the file. USA congress must impeach him before is plane ruin USA and Israel. He hate Benjamin for the reason that he had understood his double play that many attribute to Obama stupidity. Often Obama speech are shoving is capacity to expose clearly is idea e is contradicting himself. Time for USA to get him out. The Jews in America must do everything they can to remove him.

  • I wonder why David Harris is puzzled by Obama’s behavior?

    Snakes usually bite if you play with them.

  • Pierre Elie Mamou

    these people who live confortably in Usa (From Obama to JStreet and more) want to ignore the 2nd Irani threat : Death to America (the 1st is: death to the Jews). They feel secure: they forgot the twin towers? or they think Netanyahu is responsable of the millions of people in the world who hates the Usa? Does Hiroshima and Nagasaki war crimes (impuned) have nothing to do? Or now Guantanamo where people (myabe terrorists) are tortured or wher tortured till yesterday? They really think Israel democraticly voted PM is responsable of the lack of peace in this part of the world? not Hamas, not Hezbollah (they are not terrorist now, say Obama’s administration? Or it is just the same burst of judeohating and selfhate of the Chomsky/Arendt heirs?

  • Those who bless Israel I will bless and those who curse Israel I will curse. These are the words of Adonai.

  • Ivan Gur-Arie

    I wish the Jews of America unite against Obama and whoever tries to succeed him running on the Democratic party ticket. The DEmocrats are tuning into feeble lap dogs of the man in the White House. The Republicans stand with Israel adn deserve our support wholeheartedly. The obsession of Obama with Bibi shows that Obama has to have his way or the highway. He accuses the Israelis of trying to manipulate US policy. By showing himself to be a pueril brat, what is Obama doing but trying to influence Israeli politics.

  • It is a real shame that the current US administration, rather than focusing on the world terrorism affecting not only Israel but us directly, and the economy and unemployment, and poverty rate in the United Stated, they are attempting to refocus the world’s attention towards Israel and its great Leader, Prime Minister B. Netanyahu. What I have been sensing is that by trying to embarrass the Prime Minister by claiming he should not accept the invitation from Congress and all the other cheap excuses they had to not honor the Israeli Leader, the US administration made a fool out of themselves in a callous way, to the point that Mr. Netanyahu’s victory made itself felt… Hashem was present all along, and will continue to guide and protect the Prime Minister and his family, along with the new Netanyahu’s Government. God bless the Land of Israel and those who protect it.

    • Kathy S.

      Very fine and astute observations, Anonymous. God bless you.

  • Michele Nagoda

    I am deeply concerned and disturbed by President Obama’s treatment of both Israel and prime minister Netanyahu. I am ashamed of his treatment of and attitude towards our most precious ally.

    We are in extremely dangerous times and I surely wish we had a leader as true, honest and courageous as BiBi Netanyahu! I will do all that I can as one small person to extoll the virtues and goodness of Israel and hopefully down the road “the folks” will wake up and realize the injustices that have been committed!

  • Can’t you all see that the events in Yemen are rater similar to those in Ukraine. so called “Donbassization” (making it like in Donbass/Donetsk–Ukraine) of Yemen. Russia and Iran will smother the USA. And will block the Saudis’ oil to Europe and other places (part in USA). It is so serious that Saudis started to bomb Yemen.

    And in this critical time Obama behaves like a stubborn boy: he cut his only way out of the situation: Israel. Only in the joint efforts with Israel the USA can win over Iran. But not through the stupid and dangerous talks as if Obama is really not against nukes in Iran. Maybe he hopes that nuks strike only Israel? No, they strike America. Obama is in agony before he quit from the White House and makes big harm to America.

  • dante

    obama = lubtiz. he’s flying solo. he’s locked the cockpit and won’t share control of the plane with the pilot. and, he’s changed the flight plan. look at syria, iraq, libya, yemen, ukraine, russia, iran, etc., etc. tell me where obama plans to take the plane.

  • cynthia haddad

    what is obama’s administration real agenda????

    • Matthew

      To ensure that Barack Obama never has to loose the power he craves and has wielded as president. Look for him to do something that will enable him to cancel the 2016 election, and thus apply the lessons he has learned from his buddies Erdogan and Abbas.

  • spktruth200

    The Rabbis sentiment is now the majority in the US. Abe Foxman and AIPAC have no credibility any longer…they are considered part of the far far right, who also do not support a UN mandated two state solution. The right wing in this country who invited Bibi here are being laughed out, as shills for Israel and not patriotic to their own country. Yes you right wingers in Israel, keep thinking the world hasn’t turned..not just the US but the majority of European nations as well. The world has had enough of Israelie terrorism using American taxpayer dollars to purchase these weapons of mass destruction, while you continue to rob and steal more Palestinan land. Even the fundamentalists who always supported Israel have learned this: Israel has spied on the US, its citizens, have stolen plutonium and uranium to build their nuclear weapons which are undeclared. Under US law the US cannot give a red cent to any nation who has undeclared nuclear weapons. The Pentagon admitted two weeks ago, yes Israel has them, refused to sign the Nuclear Proliferation Agreements and the US has NO treaty of any kind with Israel. Bibi will be Israel’s downfall.

    • Kathy S.


    • Kathy S.


    • Artie

      I would encourage you to read some books that will help you learn about what’s really going on, but books won’t fit under the rock where you’re hiding.

  • yussi

    This US administration is way off base and had better reverse course quickly. Israel is the ONLT democracy in that lunatic part of the world and the ONLY friend was have in the region. Obama better put aside his personal feelings toward Bibi and act presidential,not infantile.

  • M. dK

    The Obama administration uses double standards when it comes to Israel. If the Obama adminstration is really concerned about human rights why do they never talk about the fact that there is not one Arab/muslim country where women/girls have the same rights as men/boys? Why does the Obama administration point a finger at Israel while Israel is the only democratic country in the middle east where women/girls have the same rights as men/boys?

    I never hear the Obama administration condemning all the killings in the Arab/muslim world. More than 12 million people have been killed/murdered in the Arab/muslim world, yet the Obama administration has the audacity to condemn Israel when it defends itself. Turkey killed 1,5 million Armenians and more than 40,000 Kurds. Iraq killed more than 183,000 Kurds and more than 300,000 Shiites. Pakistan killed 3 million Bengalis, more than half of them were Hindus. Sudan killed more than one million people. Iran killed more than 75,000 people.etc. There is a long list of the killings in the Arab/muslim world. In the last 3 years more than 210,000 people were killed in Syria and still the Obama administration acts as if it is blind, deaf, dumb and stupid.

    The fact that the Obama administration talks over and over again about the occupation of certain parts in Israel is a farce. What occupation? Why doesn’t the Obama administration never talk about all the other occupations. Half of the the greek island of Cyprus has been occupied by Turkey for centuries. There is a wall across the whole island which parts the island in a Greek and Turkish section. Morocco has been occupying 80% of the western Sahara for decades. There is a wall of 3000 kilometres build by Morocco. Ireland is occupied by England and there are 99 walls accross Ireland. Tibet is occupied by China and the Tibetans are suppressed. Alot of the original Americans who are called natives still live in camps througout the USA. Texas, New Mexico and parts of California are occupied by the USA. If the Obama administration really wants to be honest about occupations they should condemn all occupations and give the occupied parts back to Mexico and the rest of the USA to the American Indians.

    It is time that people should take a close look at the Obama administration. The Obama administration is not pro-humain as they claim, but simply anti-Israel.

  • NCS

    Could it be possible that Jewish groups have come into agreement? That would be remarkable.

  • Dale

    Obama is a disgrace.

  • DebbyFayga

    Kudos for this brave Rabbi, and he is absolutely right. Obama is over the top- he is showing his true colors now. Not that we didn’t smell trouble from the very beginning of his tenure as President. He intends to replace Israel with Iran as the ally of US, and have Iran police the Middle East. He intends to weaken Israel sovereignty and make her subject to Iranian totalitarian power. Iran in in a position of becoming a super power in the region. G-d help Israel. Obama is a short timer, but still has ability in the UN to make Israel a pariah state and hurt her diplomatically.

  • Max Cohen

    The recent destruction of the German airliner with 149 terror-stricken passengers, hopelessly screaming in protest of the co-pilot’s deliberate, murderous actions, has put me in mind of many Americans who have screamed in protest of the Obama administration’s leadership of the nation. Obama has even attempted to fully lock the Congress out from its Constitutional role in governing. The fundamental change of which Obama has boasted requires destruction of institutions such as the Constitution and the Congress before the Executive branch can plunge the nation and our allies into turmoil from which leftist totalitarians are sure to emerge. Israel has a better chance alone than with the Obama administration.

  • Harvey Shore

    We have take responsibility for the anti-semetic man who was raised by radical elements. His mentor hates our people and is glorified by the actions of the lieing back stabbing man who lives in the White House.

  • Jack

    Joe the plumber warned us 6 1/2 years ago that Obama was not a friend of Israel. We should have had his wisdom.

  • As Dr Martin Luther King Jr said with great prescience in March 1968: “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking antisemitism.”

  • Moral and ethical bankruptcy
    Americans are finding a grotesque echo in the moral – ethical bankruptcy and worse of a substantial sector of American society.
    The “moral depravity” of “the Arabs” who kill innocent civilians. It is more than moral depravity. It is a culture that teaches, educates and breeds hate toward other societies that are not like them as they say “infidels”.
    There is no way this situation should be handled with kid gloves – when a poison strikes your body, you remove it and destroy it completely, leaving no trace of such poison.
    History has shown that these types of atrocities and acts of barbarism have increased in the past half a century and getting worse by the day.
    With today’s advancement in technology and telecommunications, the world has shrunk, events on the other side of the world affect everybody (like the Japanese Nuclear reactor fallout, ISIS barbaric acts, etc.) it affects our health our economy, brings fear and uncertainty to our lives.
    The financial crisis we are facing today is the price we pay for years of neglect and government abuse of power.
    Is today’s society heading toward annihilation, you be the judge?
    YJ Draiman
    P.S. The Qur’an 17:104 – states the land belongs to the Jewish people

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  • art

    Maybe Mr Harris, who was a supporter of Obama will finally realize that Obama is anti Israel and that all of his promises to support Israel were lies. Thiose who supported Obama must stand up against him pressure their elected officials to act to stop Obamas anti Israel crusade

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  • Temple of Solomon


    • The real issue is “Who replaces Obama” in two years time and what their policy will be. Then there is the question of what to do till then and what happens if “something big” takes place in the mean time. Lastly “What to do if Obama is replaced by another Obama?2

    • The real issue is “Who replaces Obama” in two years time and what their policy will be? Then there is the question of what to do till then and what happens if “something big” takes place in the mean time? Lastly “What to do if Obama is replaced by another Obama?.Very tough questions that require tough forward looking leadership.These are life and death questions for Israel and not everyone realises this. Remember, Islam has its own agenda in which Israel does not have a happy place.One thing is certain, storms lie ahead.