Will Barack Obama's Speech Inspire a Generation of Israelis To Seek Peace?

Center May Run With Issue, But Bibi's Not Likely To Budge

Barack Obama put the issue of peace talks with the Palestinians squarely back on the Israeli agenda. Will the momentum keep moving or fizzle against the opposition of the right wing?
getty images
Barack Obama put the issue of peace talks with the Palestinians squarely back on the Israeli agenda. Will the momentum keep moving or fizzle against the opposition of the right wing?

By Nathan Jeffay

Published March 25, 2013, issue of April 05, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

According to Yemini, leaders of the centrist Yesh Atid, Tzipi Livni and the center-left Labor Party could take Obama’s balancing act and “with tiny adjustments could turn the speech in to their own platform.”

Elazar Stern, Knesset member for the Tzipi Livni Party, shares this optimism, saying that Obama “moved many” to be able to believe in the two-state solution. “For me, there’s no doubt that within a few weeks you will see a new confidence in the public for promoting the peace process,” he said.

Pollster Camil Fuchs, a Tel Aviv University professor, believes that Obama set the stage for Lapid to become the key force for peace inside the coalition. He approached this aim from two directions: the first was to start to drum up support for peace and prepare the Israeli public for a U.S.-backed peace initiative; the second was to show Lapid that clearing the path for such a plan in government is good for his political career.

Obama cultivated a relationship with Lapid during his visit, paying him special attention and telling him he wants to talk further. For Lapid, who was desperate to become Foreign Minister and received the Finance Minister portfolio instead, a relationship with Obama is a free pass to building his status domestically.

“If Lapid is going to feel that it will increase his popularity he’s going to do it,” said Fuchs.

The Labor party’s secretary-general, Knesset member Hilik Bar, was less hopeful. He said that the speech will give “some push to awaken the sleeping peace camp” and “start once again a small conversation on peace.” But he cautioned, “Netanyahu is surrounded by ultra right-wingers, so declarations are one thing; but I’m not optimistic that it will bring any action by Netanyahu and the coalition.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.