From the July 19, 2010 issue of TIME Magazine
Last summer, amid fights over East Jerusalem and Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a group of Americans that President Barack Obama was too distant. "What we're looking for is a sense of intimacy," Netanyahu said, and the word quickly became an Israeli touchstone for what ailed the relationship. On July 6, Netanyahu appeared to get his moment of intimacy in the Oval Office. He and Obama have reasons to make nice. Democrats need Jewish-American support ahead of November elections, and Israel faces isolation abroad. But the leaders disagree over potential Israeli concessions in the peace process and the speed with which to confront Iran, and pretending they don't may do more harm than good. If Palestinians think Obama has gone soft on Netanyahu for domestic political reasons, they may not trust him to mediate talks fairly. If countries that are ambivalent about pressuring Iran believe the U.S. is embracing Israel unconditionally, they may not join Washington in tougher actions against Tehran. Honesty, not intimacy, is the sign of a true partnership.
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