Pro-Israel Democrats who have, in the past, defended President Obama have been able to cite continued close cooperation between the two countries on defense issues. With former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) presiding at the Pentagon, that may change.

That is specially so since Hagel is expected to preside over reductions in the size and strength of the military. Weapons systems, such as those the U.S. is developing with Israel, tend to be easier to cut than personnel.

Israel is certainly worried: news of Hagel’s nomination led hourly news on Israel’s Army Radio on Jan. 7. ABC News reported that Israeli officials placing their hope in the idea that “one person doesn’t determine policy.”

Yet in the Obama administration, one person does determine policy, to an almost unprecedented degree–namely, President Obama himself. And Obama’s troubled record on Israel is cause for concern. Indeed, his choice of Hagel threatens to make support for Israel a wedge issue between the political parties, unless pro-Israel Democrats find the courage to challenge Hagel’s candidacy.

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