If the US leader is inclined to make nice with Netanyahu, one possibility is a presidential visit to Israel in 2013 – something which, as Romney repeatedly pointed out, was notably missing from his first term. Asked just minutes after Obama’s victory speech if a visit could help repair the relationship, Dan Shapiro, the US ambassador to Israel, said: “I know President Obama looks forward to an opportunity to visit, obviously visits are an important part of this relationship.”
But some observers believe Obama will seek “payback” for Netanyahu’s perceived high-handedness, attempts to browbeat the US into a tougher line on Iran, refusal to restrain settlement growth in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and meddling in the US election process.
Netanyahu’s official response to the result was, of course, congratulatory. “I will continue working with President Obama to ensure Israel’s vital national security interests,” he said, adding: “The strategic union between Israel the US is stronger than ever.”