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With Romney visit, Israelis worry about becoming a partisan issue

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Speaking to reporters, Romney foreign policy aide Dan Senor said that if Israel were to launch a lone attack on Iranian nuclear sites, Mr. Romney "would respect that decision," seemingly going further than the Obama administration toward a green light for Israel.  

Romney is scheduled to make a speech shortly and will hold a fundraising dinner tomorrow morning. 

This is the second presidential election in which the Jewish state has become a campaign stop. In 2008, both Obama and Sen. John McCain took breaks from campaigning in the US to visit here.

Romney's broader critique

But the open bickering between Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu over the peace process with the Palestinians and how to confront Iran has made support for Israel an issue for debate, and part of Romney’s broader foreign policy critique that the administration has failed to stand behind allies and projected weakness.

Romney’s visit is also seen as an attempt to indirectly highlight the fact that President Obama did not visit Israel in his first four years of office when he visited other American allies in the Muslim world, stirring up criticism from some Israelis.

"Romney feels that the president may be somewhat vulnerable. Romney may sense that there is some Israeli dismay at some Obama policies and sees an opportunity," said David Horvitz, the editor of the Times of Israel news website. "Unfortunately, Israel has become an issue of greater partisan debate than it used to…. That’s tremendously to Israel’s detriment."

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