Whatever the incoming Obama administration's position on Israel may be, it will not be more supportive of the country than the Bush administration has been.
If Israel's next prime minister intends to prevent Iran from acquiring the means to implement its stated aim of destroying Israel, he or she must be prepared to stand up to America. Indeed, the greatest diplomatic challenge he or she will likely face will be standing up to a popular new President Obama, supported by large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and the overwhelming majority of American Jewish voters.
Over the past few days, the two contenders for premiership — Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu — have demonstrated their starkly contrasting views of how to deal with a potentially hostile administration in Washington. Reacting to Obama's electoral victory on Wednesday, Livni made clear that from her perspective, the best way to deal with an unfriendly White House is to preemptively surrender Israel's national interests.
In her words, Israel's election results "must reflect the country's interest in advancing the peace process, otherwise the international community, headed by the US, will try and push us in this direction."
For their part, Netanyahu and Likud have shown that if defending Israel's national interests requires a confrontation with Washington, they will not shy away from it. Last week, Netanyahu's surrogate MK Yuval Steinitz informed both US presidential campaigns that in the event that outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledges to surrender the Golan Heights to Syria, a Likud-led government will not respect his pledge.