Hilary Clinton visited Israel today as part of a larger tour of the world that will take her to Afghanistan, France, Japan and elsewhere. The trip comes as relations between the Obama administration and Israel cool, though neither side seems willing to admit that. Jewish news outlets are covering the visit extensively, though meetings between Israeli officials and Mrs. Clinton are shrouded in secrecy.
The stated objective of Clinton’s visit was to discuss Egypt, Syria, Iran and the peace process. Israel and the US are reacting to a region that is undergoing a fundamental shift. Israel and the US want to ensure peace with the newly formed Egyptian government and discuss what to do about the Syrian conflict. Sanctions and other actions taken against Iran were also on the docket. No concrete solutions were announced.
Although both nations praised the continuing partnership, relations remain chilly. Many people believe Netanyahu wants to see Romney in the White House. Others say the US is frustrated with Israel’s handling of the peace process and hawkish talk on Iran.
Some suspect a political motive as well; Clinton may be using herself as an Obama surrogate to cement support among Jews. Romney is due to visit Israel later this month.