DIPLOMACY

Obama Boosts Israeli Military

President Obama has struggled to win the approval of the pro-Israel crowd, and he hasn’t always done himself favors: in 2009, for example, when a Jewish leader asked him why he criticized Israel publicly over settlements, Obama called for then–chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and said, “Rahm understands the politics there, and he explains them to me.” Behind the scenes, however, Obama has strengthened Israel’s hand, authorizing long-delayed arms deals including “bunker busters” that could be used in any future strike against Iranian nuclear sites. "If you look at the trajectory from Clinton to Bush to Obama, the military relationship has gotten steadily stronger," says Elliott Abrams, who once oversaw Middle East policy at the National Security Council.