Magazine article Newsweek

The Prospect of an Odd Couple

Magazine article Newsweek

The Prospect of an Odd Couple

Article excerpt

Byline: Kevin Peraino

One morning this past summer, Barack Obama sat down around a conference table in Jerusalem's King David Hotel with Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of Israel's Likud Party. Neither man ran a country but both had high hopes. The talk was "like a hypothetical business discussion" among "two people who knew they might be working together," says a Netanyahu associate who was present but requested anonymity to speak freely. But that's where the similarities stop. Netanyahu, 59, is an unreconstructed hawk, raised in the cold war's shadow. Obama listened politely, but the gap was obvious. "Obama, clearly, is a product of a new age," says the Israeli.

The Jewish state, on the other hand, may be on the verge of slipping into an older one. Israel's doves are struggling. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni announced last week that she had failed to form a government; lawmakers set elections for February. The biggest benefactor is likely to be Netanyahu, who's now even with Livni in polls. The Likud leader seems the most American of Israeli politicians. His uncompromising rhetoric would probably mesh well with a McCain administration. Yet at a moment when both Israeli hawks and American neoconservatives have been chastened, Netanyahu's rebirth appears slightly incongruous, even atavistic.

Consider Israel's relationship with Hamas. Netanyahu came to power in 1996 following a wave of suicide bombings. He later ordered Mossad agents to assassinate Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.