Netanyahu didn’t want a repeat of 2012, when many in Israel and the United States felt the Israeli leader and his team were leaning heavily toward GOP standard-bearer Mitt Romney.
Now that it’s all over, Netanyahu was quick on Wednesday to call Trump, the president-elect, “a true friend of the State of Israel” and vow: “We will work together to advance the security, stability and peace in our region. The strong connection between the U.S. and Israel is based on shared values, shared interests and a shared destiny.”
While many Jewish Israelis felt comfortable with Trump's populist rhetoric, especially his tough talk against “Islamic terrorism,” they were simultaneously appalled by the anti-Semitism of some of his supporters.
Israeli commentators also weren’t exactly sure what to make of Trump’s advertisements, wondering aloud what the campaign and the candidate meant when they warned of shadowy global bankers pulling the strings.
In truth, Israel isn’t really sure what Trump envisions for Israel and its long conflict with the Palestinians.
The Israeli right quickly seized upon the Trump victory to push for its agenda.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat cheered “Mazel tov, Mr. President!” to the winning candidate and then reminded Trump that he had promised to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s declared capital, Jerusalem. The United States does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, awaiting instead a final negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely — Israel’s top diplomat — chimed in that she wanted Trump to fulfill his campaign vow to recognize Jerusalem. “That would be an important historic move,” she said.
“This will symbolize the close relationship and courageous friendship between the two nations,” said Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
The leader of Israel’s Jewish Home party, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, called Trump’s win “a tremendous opportunity for Israel to immediately announce its intention to renege on the idea of establishing Palestine in the heart of the country — a direct blow to our security and the justice of our cause.”
Bennett said it was clear to him that Trump shared this view, as reflected in the GOP's pro-Israel platform.
“The era of the Palestinian state is over,” Bennett declared.
From the other side of the Green Line, a leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, reminded Trump that a “two-state solution” to the conflict has been the official policy of all previous U.S. administrations, Republican and Democratic.
A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said, “We are ready to deal with the elected president on the basis of a two-state solution and to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.”