Immediately after Obama's victory, the International Herald Tribune (the world-wide edition of the New York Times) asked ten people around the globe for comments. All were published on Thursday, November 6, 2008.


Here is mine:




                                GOOD FOR ISRAEL?


Israelis ask, of course: is he "good for Israel"? In the old Jewish way, this question must be answered with another question: "For which Israel?" I dare to hope that Obama will be revealed as a friend of the Other Israel, the Israel that seeks peace.


As far as the national interests of the US are concerned, the "larger Middle East" is not a secondary theater. It is one of the most important, and the new administration will have to deal with it right from the beginning. This is also the theater where the catastrophic failures of Bush are the most obvious. It is in the American interest to turn over a new leaf in our region and to really work for an Israeli-Palestinian, Israeli-Syrian, Israeli-all-Arab and perhaps even Israeli-Iranian peace.


I hope with all my heart that Obama will continue to support Israel - not the Israel of the bullies and the hypocrites, who pretend to be negotiating for peace while enlarging the settlements, tightening the screws in the occupied territories and blabbering about bombing Iran, but the Israel of the silent majority that is ready for peace and crying out for an American administration that will give the decisive push to a real peace initiative.


-- URI AVNERY, founder of the Israeli peace movement Gush Shalom.