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Visit Israel? Yes He Can! Yes He Must!

Posted by John Pegway | Posted in Barack Obama, Israel | Posted on 29-06-2008

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Barack Obama’s camp announced yesterday he will make a trip to Europe and the Middle East — including a visit to Israel.

Judging by some of the media’s accounts of the Israel swing, it’s not a moment too soon for Obama.

Associated Press:

The stop in Israel could help improve Obama’s standing among Jewish voters. Some Jews are concerned about Obama’s willingness to speak with Middle Eastern nations that oppose Israel, while others wonder whether he is a closet Muslim.

AFP:

Seeking to beat back a perceived weakness with Jewish voters and Republican claims he is naive on national security, Obama has poured lavish praise on Israel in recent weeks…

Europeans likely will fawn all over Obama.  After all, what could be better for Hyde Park in London than someone from Hyde Park in Chicago?  But what do Israelis think of Obama?

Saturday’s Washington Times offers this clue:

Sen. Barack Obama’s recent efforts to woo American Jewish voters by staking out pro-Israeli positions seem to have fallen on deaf ears in the Jewish state, according to a poll published Friday.

Asked to name their preference to become the next president, a sample of 500 Israeli Jews favored presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, over the Illinois Democrat by a 36 percent to 27 percent advantage.

The poll, the first presidential such survey in Israel since the end of the Democratic primary race, was conducted June 18-19 by Israel’s Mutagim survey institute for the right-wing weekly paper Mekor Rishon. The 500-person sample has a 4.5 percentage margin of error.

For Obama, this Israel visit might need something more substantive than symbolism.

Obama yarmulke kippah from Forward

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