Former Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky has termed Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama a "risk" to Israel if he is elected president. The former minister in the Sharon government, who also is a personal friend of American President George W. Bush, told Shalom TV that he prefers Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain.
Getting to Obama, there is no record. It can happen to be good. It can happen to be very bad. It's a risk.
Shalom TV is an American Jewish cable network that reaches 18 million homes.
"In the case of McCain, we know exactly where his policy is," said Sharansky. "I know, personally, McCain for 20 years. He is a person of principle, and he is also a person who has absolutely a great record of supporting Israel. Getting to Obama, there is no record. Nobody can know for sure what will be. It can happen to be good. It can happen to be very bad. It's a risk."
The interview with Sharansky on Shalom TV can be seen here.
Sen. Obama, who last month completed a high-profile two-day visit in Israel, said "all the right things which Israelis wanted to hear," Sharansky commented. However, he added that unlike Sen. McCain, the young first-time Senator has no proven record.
Sen. Obama has been fighting a negative image on Israel, partly due to an e-mail campaign against him that accused him of being a Muslim disguised as a Christian. Critics also often point out that Sen. Obama's middle name is Hussein. He countered by telling a Jewish synagogue in Florida that his first name in Hebrew means "blessed."
Obama won enthusiastic applause several weeks ago in a rousing speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who heard him announce the Jerusalem should be the united and eternal capital of Israel.
Following the AIPAC speech, fierce Arab protests forced him to backtrack within 24 hours, and he clarified his statement by saying that Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) must decide the future status of the city. He later said that the call for an "undivided" Jerusalem was his way of objecting to a barbed-wire barrier in the middle of the city, similar to the one that existed when eastern Jerusalem was under Jordanian occupation between 1949 and 1967.