Netanyahu made little secret of his preference for a Romney victory during the hard-fought U.S. race. Pundits have suggested that an Obama victory could spell retribution for Netanyahu, with a second-term White House free to exact payback on the prime minister as he seeks re-election.Now I don't suppose it makes much difference in terms of governance who wins the Israeli or American elections. I do find it interesting that a clear majority of Jews in the USA weren't swayed by anti-Obama campaigning which revolved around where the two candidates stood on Israel.
But Netanyahu may believe that he has found a way to use the American election – and Obama - to his advantage.
Running hard for re-election, Netanyahu may have a world to gain, and nothing to lose, by continuing to thumb his nose at the president, and get away with it.
Until late last month, Netanyahu and his Likud party were seen as virtually invincible in his campaign for re-election in the January 22 election. But since stunning his own party faithful by tying the Likud's fate to that of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's secularist Yisrael Beiteinu party in a surprise merger, Netanyahu has lost precious ground in opinion polls, ground he cannot afford to lose.
If the prime minister is to reverse the trend, he will need to appeal to the sectors of his base that appear to be slipping away, in particular potential Likud voters, who describe themselves as religious or traditional in orientation. Polls announced on Israeli television stations on Tuesday pointed the way to a possible Netanyahu strategy based on exploiting Israeli displeasure with, or distaste for, Obama.
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