Monday, October 22, 2012

Quote of the Week: Horses and Bayonets

‎"There are also a lot less horses and bayonets than there were in 1916." -President Obama
This is my quote of the week, because it makes me laugh. Enjoy this tumblr to laugh along with me.

On a serious note, though, I have to quote the candidates on Israel:
"Israel is a true friend. It is our greatest ally in the region. America will stand with Israel." -Obama
"If I'm president of the United States - when I'm president of the United States - we will stand with Israel." -Romney

This was supposed to be a foreign policy debate, and while the candidates got a little off topic with a lot of domestic policy talk, there was plenty of talk about the international scene. Almost all of that talk focused on the Middle East and, not surprisingly, Israel. This is a topic I have been waiting for all month and both Obama and Romney expressed unwavering support for Israel, as quoted above. I wouldn't expect anything less, since I don't think you can win a debate without expressing unwavering support for Israel. Because of this, I was listening for how the candidates spoke about Israel. To explain my understanding of the Israeli mindset, here is a story from my days teaching Jewish Sunday School pre-k:

The smallest boy in our class was also the youngest and newest, having just moved to Nashville from Israel. One day, while the other teacher and I were setting up for snack time, this boy and the largest boy in class (who had some aggression issues) got in a fight on the other side of the room without us noticing. We noticed quickly and broke it up. The first reaction of the Israeli boy's father was not: "How could you, as his teachers, let this fight break out in class?" or "How did this start?"

His first reaction was: "Son, when we get home, I'm going to teach you how to fight."

The Israeli mindset is self-defense. The Israeli mindset is not to confer with others when something happens; it's to react tough, immediately.

Here's what stuck out to me about the candidates' Israel rhetoric:

Romney, on one hand, seems to think he has a good enough relationship with Israel and Bibi that Israel would call him before deciding to defend itself militarily. I don't claim to have any great and deep understanding of the Israeli mindset, but what I do know is that Israel is proud, independent, and progressively defensive. I think Romney is kidding himself if he thinks Israel would include him in a decision-making conference call.

Obama, on the other hand, steered clear of talking about "what Israel would do" in any given situation. Instead, Obama spoke about visiting Yad Vashem and meeting the victims of terrorist attacks on Israel's border.

What do you think about Obama's and Romney's views on Israel? Who do you think has a better understanding of the Israeli mindset?