For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
A friend of mine is angry, saying I’m too tough on President Barack Obama and that nothing he does pleases me. Well, I wish he’d do more that pleases me, and disconcerts America’s enemies.
True, he has done three good things lately: his Nobel speech, which sounded like it was actually given by a U.S. president; his remarks on the demonstrations in Iran (better six months late than never), and his tough verbal stance about investigating the mistakes that led to the near disaster (though I worry they’re less about dramatic change and more just a show to reassure the public that something will be done). I also pointed out that the administration’s relationship with Israel was pretty good overall.
Yet on the single most important Middle East issue, Iran’s nuclear program and its aggressive ambitions, hints about his policy are getting worrisome both because of what this administration isn’t doing and what it’s obviously thinking. The year has now ended with no major public move toward imposing serious sanctions.
True, there are a few statements you can dig out indicating a turn in that direction. Yet what should have happened was a major public speech by December 31 about the administration’s sanction plans. After all, it set that date as a deadline for action ten months ago yet let it pass with no visible action.
There are other bad signs that the administration still doesn’t comprehend the problems it faces. The likely sending of Senator John Kerry to Tehran is a terrible idea. It signals to the Tehran regime U.S. desperation to make a deal and chooses a highly unqualified envoy with too big an incentive to get some hint of agreement at any price. (Meanwhile, further weakening the Western hand, an 11-member EU parliamentary delegation is visiting Tehran and will make clear how eager the Europeans are to make concessions in exchange for Iran offering some kind of deal.)
Of even more concern is the strategy revealed by officials in interviews with the Washington Post: that the sanctions are focused “against discrete elements of the Iranian government, including those involved in the deadly crackdown on Iranian protesters….” In other words, they’ll put sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its front companies.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"