Capping a race that on a national level was largely defined by the economy but in the Jewish community turned into an extended debate over which candidate would steer the best course for the U.S.-Israel relationship, President Barack Obama defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney to earn a second term on Tuesday.
Obama won 69 percent of the Jewish vote, according to a CNN exit poll, representing a nine-point drop from the 78 percent he garnered in 2008 exit polls.
National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) President and CEO David A. Harris, speaking exclusively with JNS.org after major television networks called the race for Obama on Tuesday night, said he “and the clear majority of American Jews” are “reassured by having President Obama in office for another four years.”
“The president has a stellar pro-Israel record,” Harris said. “The facts speak for themselves. Whether it’s missile defense or some of the closest [U.S.-Israel] security cooperation ever, or heralding an era of isolating Iran like never before, I see that continuing—the close cooperation between the United States and Israel continuing into and through the next four years during what’s a crucial period for Israel’s security.”
But Jonathan Tobin, senior online editor of Commentary magazine, told JNS.org that Obama’s win will mean “probably four years of ongoing tension with the government of Israel, which is likely to be led by the same person (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) with whom Obama is engaged in a long-term feud.”
Areas of contention include the Iranian nuclear issue, especially if Obama approves a deal brokered by senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, who according to a Yedioth Ahronoth report Monday is leading secret talks with the Islamic Republic.
However, Tobin acknowledged that the “infrastructure of the [U.S.-Israel] alliance isn’t going anywhere.”