Babylon & Beyond

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ISRAEL: The Audacity of Hebrew

April 11, 2008 | 12:21 pm


For the record: The Obama campaign said the Hebrew-language blog is a private project and is not an official campaign blog. The Obama advisor quoted in the item never contributed to the blog and did not provide the quote attributed to him, it said. The campaign only sent the blogger copies of the candidate's speeches and position papers. The Obama advisor's last name is spelled Lynn, not Lin.

The perception that Barack Obama might be friendlier to the Palestinian cause than his rival presidential contenders probably won’t win him too much support in Israel.

Regular assessments in the Israeli press of each candidate's support for Israel consistently show Obama trailing John McCain and Hillary Rodham Clinton, who are regarded as basically tied.

Perhaps mindful of that dynamic, Obama’s camp has begun a push for Jewish and pro-Israeli votes, including the unveiling of a campaign blog in Hebrew.

"It is very important to the candidate, Barack Obama, to form a relationship with the Israeli public and give it his messages without intermediaries in order to show his great support for the State of Israel, said Obama’s adviser for Middle Eastern affairs, Eric Lin, in an introductory posting.

A commentary published in the daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said Obama's efforts prove that “now more than ever, the battle for the United States presidency passes through the State of Israel.”

—Ashraf Khalil in Jerusalem

Photo: Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, addresses a rally at South Bend Washington High School Wednesday April 9, 2008 in South Bend, Ind. Credit: Joe Raymond / Associated Press