After a stormy week here in Israel, we are heading into the weekend with more pleasant spring-like weather. But that’s not the only reason for optimism.
Did you watch the inauguration of the new US president yesterday? I let the live broadcast run in the background, I wanted to be part of it somehow. In doing so, I kept thinking about how relations between Israel and the United States will be over the next four years. I was worried, but also not worried.
Joe Biden makes a good impression. The word “normal” is on the tip of my tongue. Yes, finally we have a normal president in Washington again, because as good as Donald Trump was to us here in Israel, he was also unpredictable. I was shocked by his behavior following the election.
Nor is Biden a stranger to Israel. During his long Senate career and his eight years as Vice President under Barack Obama, he was often engaged with the Jewish state. Sure, Israel did’t have it easy during the Obama Administration, but would another four years with Trump been smooth sailing? I have my doubts considering the way he lashed out during his final month in office.
Biden knows Israel very well. As a 30-year-old, he met Golda Meir shortly before the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War and suggested that she exchange strategically insignificant areas for peace. This proposal was of course rejected by Golda. The trip to Israel was Biden’s first abroad following his election to the Senate. He was at the time the youngest Senator in the United States, and now he is the country’s oldest-ever President.
You know what? I’m going to remain optimistic. Joe Biden makes a positive impression on me. In addition, there is his sparklingly fresh Vice President Kamala Harris, who is sure to have a special relationship with Israel because of her Jewish husband. I hope so, anyway. She also makes a good impression on me. The months ahead will tell whether or not my optimism is misplaced. The US Embassy is staying in Jerusalem, and that’s a good sign, isn’t it?