By Micah HalpernI've Been Thinking:
French President Francois Hollande is visiting Israel. Israel and France both consider this a critical visit.
France is the reason that the lightening paced move to sign a deal with Iran was slowed down. The French want to add more specifics and independent evaluations into the pact. It was France that put the brakes on and stopped the signing last week.
Israel is very happy about that.
France was also the first and most powerful voice calling for a strike against Syria after the August 21 gassing. French fighters were in their jets ready to strike when Hollande got a call from the White House demanding that they stand down.
But Israel is realistic.
France has always pursued its own direction in the Middle East - and it was often at odds with and very different from the perspectives of Israel and the United States.
Israel realizes that Hollande has his hands full domestically - that his most important goal is to stabilize his own erratic economy which tanked post election.
So although Israel is elated by this trip and knows that it will be a huge success, they are also cognizant of the limitations of that success and very aware of how French foreign policy is prepared and played out. And right now, standing up against Iran and challenging the United States is a good move in Paris.
Make no mistake, that is why Hollande is behaving the way he is. Israel understands that. And right now, that is also a good move in Jerusalem.
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