Even before the U.S. election concluded Tuesday night with the victory of Barack Obama over John McCain, Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman was thinking about how the new U.S. president should address Israel in his incoming administration. His “Letter to the New U.S. President” is receiving a strong response from readers. Read the letter in Hebrew. קרע את המכתב בעברית
Donniel asked the new U.S. president one key thing: to take his time and to really learn about the situation here before jumping in. At the same time, he also asked that the president not wait until the end of his administration, as has happened with many presidents, to seek a high-profile event that doesn’t necessarily lead anywhere substantive.
Here’s how the letter opened:
As a new president, I know that you have many issues and challenges on your mind that are of critical significance for America’s future. And the issues of Israel may seem relatively insignificant at this moment. In writing to you, I am making no claim as to Israel’s significance to the future of America. Rather I am writing because I believe in the significance of your actions for the future of Israel.
I am writing because I firmly believe that you care. If the U.S.A. has taught us Israelis anything it is that your relationship to our country transcends immediate political interests and strategic alliances. You have for decades been our dearest friend. And it is on the basis of that friendship I am writing.
PS: If you know of a way to help get this letter to Barack Obama, or his senior Jewish and foreign policy advisers, or Rahm Emanual, please send it along to them – and let us know what happens if you do.