Roadblocks (Or Obama’s Israel Visit)

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This post is about Obama’s visit to Israel.  It is subdivided into several sections, each of which was a post that I wanted to write this week (but couldn’t, because my computer broke, remember?).

A. Me: “I don’t get it – why does everything have to be closed, just because Obama is in the general area?  What, do they think someone will assassinate him will happen?”

Yitzchak: “The United States has a history of its presidents being assassinated.”

Me (thinking that I’ve only heard of Kennedy being assassinated): “In the U.S., not abroad.”

Yitzchak: “Both in the U.S. itself and abroad.”

Me (not sure, but not willing to argue the point): “They do know that if someone will assassinate Obama, it’s going to be an Arab, right?  Jews may or may not like him [FTR: I think I like him], but only an Arab would assassinate him – they don’t even want him to visit them.  Though, I’m not sure why, because he’s been pretty nice to them.”

Yitzchak: “Because they want to ‘cut off the head of the snake.'”

Me: “Hm, and this would be the head of ‘the head of the snake.'”

Yitzchak: “Yeah, and it would probably do them more harm than good, but they’re too blind to see that.  They don’t think that they [Muslim fighters] can be defeated.”

B. Me: “Why under the sun did Obama decide to visit right before Pesach?  He couldn’t have come during Pesach?  It’s not like he’s totally ignorant – there are lots of religious Jews in the White House, and he knows they’re getting ready for Pesach.”

Yitzchak: “If it were Bush, he’d have the excuse of being oblivious – all of Bush’s best friends are all Arabs.  But Obama’s best friends are all Jews, so he has no excuse for closing the roads when everyone needs to be shopping for Pesach.”

C. Today the 21 isn’t running.  The 5 isn’t running.  The 6 isn’t running.  I called the bus company and they told me that all three were running, but two of them had slight route changes.  On Wednesday, the 13 and 18 had changes or weren’t running.  The light rail train should be running, but we all know that “should” and “is” are two separate concepts.

None of these bus lines are running.  There are roadblocks set up, and buses can’t get through.  Neither can private cars.  And the taxi company in our neighborhood has been forbidden to send out taxis.  Yitzchak wasted over an hour today waiting for a bus that didn’t come, and then going to another neighborhood on foot, to wait for another bus that didn’t come.  And on a Friday, that’s pretty awful.

Yitzchak thinks – and I agree with his theory – that there must be American police involved.  Israeli police would probably allow buses through by making makeshift “checkpoints”.  Meaning, the bus stops at the roadblock, an officer gets on, he removes any suspicious people, and then allows the bus to pass.  Only American police officers could be stupid enough to freeze all of the traffic in three neighborhoods surrounding the one neighborhood where Obama is.  And no offense, but 9/11 would not have happened in Israel – simply because racial profiling is allowed, and the terrorists would not have been allowed to board.  Even today, with all the precautions that America takes, I am not sure that the airport security is enough.  And no, I don’t think that X-rays are appropriate, necessary, healthy, or acceptable.  All you need is to learn how to profile correctly.

D. (Theoretical conversation:)

Yitzchak (to a police officer): “Can I ask President Obama a question?”

Officer: “Why?”

Yitzchak: “Just because I’m curious, I want to ask a quick question.”

Officer: “Okay.”

Yitzchak (to Obama): “Mr. President, can I ask you why you decided to come, of all times, the week before Pesach?”

Obama: “That’s a very good question.  I’ll have to think about it and get back to you.” (or, alternatively)  “That’s a good question.  I really don’t know.”

(Both of these answers are actually very complimentary to Obama, since most people don’t know how to admit mistakes or say that they don’t know something.)

E. We have friends who were very anti-Obama in the elections and said that Romney is pro-Israel and Obama is an anti-Semite.  They encouraged us to vote for Romney.  Our voting cards did not get here in time, but we were planning to vote for Obama, and would have if we had had the opportunity.

This morning, one of them said, “Obama sounds like a Jew the way he’s talking.  He’s really being nice.  And he obviously knows his stuff.”

From one extreme to the other, huh?

F. One thing that does bother me is that this, “was not a political visit,” yet, students from Ariel University were not invited to Obama’s speech. That in itself is a political statement.  However, I blame the U.S. Consulate for this step.  I don’t know whether Obama corrected it, or why he did or did not (because my computer broke, remember?), but either way, I am more mad at the consulate than at the president.

G. Overall, I think Obama’s visit to Israel has gone pretty well.  He wants to speak to Bennett.  He has been pretty reasonable on the peace-process front.  And Netanyahu seems to be getting along with Obama just fine.  In addition, Obama seems to have realized – the first president in a long time – that peace truly depends on whether both sides want it, and not necessarily are both sides interested right now.

I like Obama as a person.  I was not sure that I liked his policies towards Israel last time, but I knew that Romney would undoubtedly be worse.  This is also Obama’s second term, which means that he can do whatever he wants without worrying about re-election and the political consequences.  The only – and scary – question for me, during the elections, was what exactly Obama wants, and what he truly believes in.  Was he being nicer to Israel than he would like to be, to get re-elected?  Or was he being nicer to the Arabs to get re-elected?

Now I breathe a sigh of relief that I looked at the other aspects of his relationship with Israel, and trusted that it would only get better with time.  Obama seems to be the most reasonable, intelligent American president that Israel has seen in a long time.

His friends are Jews, not Arabs.  He wants his children to grow up in a safe world.  And he can do whatever he wants, because he is not running for re-election.  I hope he continues to be a true friend of Israel.

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12 thoughts on “Roadblocks (Or Obama’s Israel Visit)

  1. I happen to disagree with you about Obama being a friend of Israel’s, but that’s a conversation for a different time.

    But I have no doubt that the secret service has been given complete rein over Obama’s security arrangements. That’s simply the way it goes. I don’t know if you saw this piece of news, but there was an article about one of Obama’s limos breaking down in Israel. Before he got there. Point is, they bring multiple limousines whenever he travels abroad. Dozens of secret service agents are sent weeks in advance to a country to prepare for the president’s arrival. It’s not surprising to me that they shut down other areas- they do the same thing in the US. Blocks upon blocks get roadblocked for hours for a 2 second presidential drive-through. It’s difficult enough providing security in their own country, you can hardly fault them for taking the extra step in a foreign one.

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    • It’s kind of a shame if the secret service has complete charge – Israel is much better at dealing with security threats than America is.
      No, I didn’t see the article about his limo. That’s pretty funny. 🙂
      It doesn’t surprise me that everything was shut down – it just HAS to be the work of Americans, because I think Israelis would have done better work in a less obstrusive fashion. Kind of bugs me – with all the airport security post 9/11, you’d think they’d be up to par – and they’re not. There was an article about a man who was working as an undercover agent and managed to sneak a bomb onto a plane (just to see if he could).

      P.S. – If Obama or one of his men reads this, I don’t want them to think I hate him, you know? He’s a nice guy, after all . . .

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      • That’s probably true, but I’d rather the Secret Service deal with his security in case something does happen. The fallout if it had been Israeli’s security would be enough to cause a war.

        I was told by someone who was involved in an exercise with the Israeli security that Israel pull off those kind of drills all the time with weaponry, bombs and the like.

        Haha. I happen to disagree with you on that too. I don’t think he’s a nice guy in the slightest.

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      • You’re probably right about the liability.

        Israel does drills for everything, all the time. At least, that’s how it seems.

        I guess we can agree to disagree.

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      • Not sure how the reply works on WordPress. There’s no reply button after your last comment. So, this may go in the wrong place.

        I was blessed enough to be there for yeshiva at a relatively calm time in a very calm place. I didn’t get a chance to see very much, but it’s not hard to see that being the case.

        🙂

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  2. I don’t agree with you. I am not an Obama fan and think that Romney would have better in terms of the relationship with Israel. Truthfully, I think he would have been better on many fronts.
    It does seem, however, that this trip to Israel has gone decently – better than I expected.

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    • I don’t think Romney would have been better.
      But, I don’t want one of Obama (or one of his agents) to read the post and think I hate him. He’s a nice guy, after all.
      I am still trying to figure out what Obama’s exact plan for Israel is, though.

      And like you said – this trip went pretty well. MUCH better than I expected.

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