MK Danny Danon (Likud) welcomed on Monday the visit to Israel by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, saying that President Barack Obama gave Israel the cold shoulder.
“The visit of Governor Romney was very important for Israelis,” Danon told Arutz Sheva. “We saw a candidate who cares about Israel. The very fact that he came during the campaign, three months before election day, speaks for itself.”
He added, “We ask ourselves how come President Obama did not find the time to visit Jerusalem. He went to Saudi Arabia, he went to Turkey, to Egypt, but he forgot about the United States’ ally here in the Middle East.
“We heard a strong commitment from Governor Romney and we hope to see a change in the [American] policy towards Israel,” said Danon.
Obama angered many Israelis and their U.S. supporters last year when he insisted any negotiations on the borders of a future Palestinian state begin on the basis of lines that existed before 1967, when Israel liberated Judea and Samaria during the Six Day War.
Obama visited Israel as a candidate in the 2008 campaign but has not done so as president. Colin Kahl, an Obama aide, said last week Americans can “expect” Obama to visit Israel during his second term.
Romney criticized Obama’s attitude towards Israel last week, telling the Yisrael Hayom newspaper that Israel deserves better treatment than it has received from Obama.
Romney told the daily paper that he, unlike Obama, would not make disputes with Israel’s leaders a public affair. “I cannot imagine going to the United Nations, as Obama did, and criticizing Israel in front of the world,” he said. “You don’t criticize your allies in public to achieve the applause of your foes.”
If he were to disagree with Israel, differences would be discussed “in private conversations, not public forums,” he added.
On Friday, Obama signed a bill to strengthen U.S.-Israeli military ties. The new bill calls for enhanced cooperation with Israel on missile defense and intelligence, and increased access to advanced weapons.
It is believed that Obama’s focus on strengthening cooperation with Israel was timed to try to upstage Romney before his visit to Israel.