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      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
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      Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He has lived in Israel for the past decade.
      Shevat 21, 5769, 2/15/2009

      Here Comes American Pressure....

      A new Israeli government has not yet even been formed, but that isn't stopping the Obama administration from turning up the heat on the incoming coalition.

      An article in today's Ha'aretz reports that "the U.S. administration is preparing to put heavy pressure on the new government to freeze all settlement construction and keep its promises to lift roadblocks".

      Washington, it says, "will demand that Israel avoid creating new facts on the ground that may burden achieving an agreement in the future."

      If true, this is shameful intereference in Israel's internal affairs and a defiance of the will of Israel's democracy. The electorate of the Jewish state delivered a loud and resounding "no" to the outgoing Kadima government's proposed concessions to the Palestinians and voted overwhelmingly in favor of a nationalist and religious majority in the Knesset.

      By what right, then, does Mr. Obama seek to veto this change in policy? This is nothing less than diplomatic arrogance and it can not be allowed to stand.

      Israel's next government should make it abundantly clear from the outset to Mr. Obama and his secretary of state, Hillay Clinton, that the rules of the game have changed, and there will be no more dictates to Jerusalem regarding our national and security interests.

      If Obama is serious about his pledge to conduct a less "arrogrant" foreign policy, a good place for him to start would be by not interfering in the return of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland.