As soon as presumptive US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's choice of Joe Biden as his running mate became official, Israelis began debating the potential benefits and drawbacks of the Delaware senator becoming America's number 2.
Israel's Army Radio included in its coverage of the news a sound clip of a 2007 interview during which Biden declared himself a "Zionist," a title that his strong pro-Israel voting record appears to support.
Israelis also hoped that Biden's long and comprehensive experience with foreign policy issues would temper what many fear are Obama's dangerous intentions vis-a-vis the Iran threat, Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
But Israeli media also carried warnings from prominent Jewish Republican leaders in America that Biden is nearly as naive as Obama when it comes to Iran's nuclear program, which is the single greatest threat facing Israel today.
According to a statement issued by the Republican Jewish Coalition: "Like Obama, Biden fundamentally misunderstands the threat posed by an Iran determined to obtain nuclear weapons. Biden has continuously demonstrated poor judgment on Iran. He has voted against significant legislation that would pressure Iran to stop pursuing nuclear weapons. Biden has failed to recognize the serious threat that Iran poses to Israel and the US and its allies in the Middle East."
Biden has been among the more vocal of those that insist Iran does not pose a serious threat, nuclear or otherwise. He is believed to support Obama's intention to engage Iran in direct dialogue and end Tehran's isolation.
Israel, meanwhile, is reported to be preparing for a possible military strike on Iran's main nuclear facilities should diplomatic efforts continue to prove futile.
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