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Israel assesses frayed ties with US Jews, Democratic Party

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his government are confronted with the double challenge of rehabilitating ties with the Democrat Party and mending the rift with the American Jewish community.
US President Joe Biden meets with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 27, 2021.

Two almost simultaneous incidents this past week could have easily provided fodder for "Saturday Night Live." On Sept. 21, the House of Representatives' failure to vote on a bill replenishing Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system unleashed harsh criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett by his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his Likud party lawmakers. Meanwhile, a clip making its viral way on social media showed Netanyahu, his head slumped and eyes closed, in an apparent mockery of President Joe Biden for allegedly nodding off during his recent White House meeting with Bennett.

Even as Netanyahu was deriding the president of the United States — the Likud subsequently issued a statement saying he had meant to mock Bennett, not Biden — his followers took to the airwaves and social media to insist that under Netanyahu, former Democratic President Barack Obama actually increased military funding for Israel, whereas now that Bennett is in charge, the United States is holding up vital military aid. This petty political wrangling could have been amusing were it not a fact of daily political life in Israel.

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