Oklahoma governor meets with Israeli ambassador

Talks between Gov. Mary Fallin and Meir Shlomo centered on how Oklahoma energy companies could help Israel develop its natural gas field and the political situation both in the Middle East and the United States.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: November 2, 2012
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He shied away from commenting on whether Israel would fare better if President Barack Obama, a Democrat, or Republican Mitt Romney wins.

“We are always interested to see what's happening in the United States — it's our major ally in the world,” Shlomo said. “We are merely keenly interested observers. ... We don't take any sides.”

Shlomo, whose post covers Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico, said Israel remains an “island of stability” in the Mideast, with the country extremely concerned about Iran's pledge to back Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Israeli officials had expressed concerns about Assad for years, which mostly went ignored, Shlomo said.

“A lot of countries thought he would be a moderate,” he said. “Unfortunately what's happening is proving our point. It's a real tragedy, this ongoing slaughter of civilians.”

At least 36,000 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011, and the last 19 months have seen the Assad regime's crackdown on opposition attempts to develop into a full-scale civil war.

“Iran is the big gorilla in the room,” Shlomo said. “If it would go nuclear, the next thing you're going to see is a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. And if you have a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, imagine how easy it would be for terrorists to access a nuclear weapon.

“Iran has really the potential to destabilize the whole world,” he said. “The world would be a better place without the Iranian regime. It's not about the Iranian people; it's about the Iranian ayatollah regime.”