Israeli Politicians Congratulate President-Elect Donald Trump on ‘Victory Against All Odds Over Country’s Elites’
Israeli ministers and members of Knesset from across the political spectrum rushed to respond Wednesday morning to Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the US presidential election, taking to social media to extend both salutations and ideological interpretations of the dramatic event.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who has kept silent about which candidate he favored, meeting with both contenders in New York recently, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly — congratulated Trump on Facebook. Calling the US president-elect a “true friend of the state of Israel,” Netanyahu wrote:
I look forward to working with him to advance security, stability and peace in our region.
The ironclad bond between the United States and Israel is rooted in shared values, buttressed by shared interests and driven by a shared destiny.
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I am confident that President-elect Trump and I will continue to strengthen the unique alliance between our two countries and bring it to ever greater heights.
President Reuven Rivlin also congratulated “President-elect Donald Trump, his family, and all the American people, who have once again shown the world it is the greatest democracy. There are many challenges that lie before you as president — at home and around the world. Israel, your greatest ally, stands by you as your friend and partner in turning those challenges into opportunities.”
“I hope together Israelis and Americans can grow our innovation and cooperation, which are the fruits of liberty and equality,” he concluded. “God bless you Mr. President.”
According to Israel’s Channel 10, Opposition leader Isaac Herzog — chairman of the Labor Party and head of the Zionist Union bloc — wrote, “Today, [Americans] elected a new leader who demonstrated to pundits and skeptics that we are in a new age” — one characterized by the ousting of the elites.
“You accomplished the unexpected — against all odds, polls and research… This is a period of change around the world, as it will soon be in Israel, too,” Herzog said, in a veiled reference to his hope to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister.
Hinting at the rhetoric for which Trump became infamous, Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni said she hopes that the president-elect keeps the promises he made in his victory speech — “and not those he made during his campaign.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the chairman of the right-wing Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) Party called Trump’s win “a pure and simple victory over old conventions – a victory of the country’s interests over the interests of the elites that continue to crumble before our eyes.” It is, he said, “a great opportunity for Israel to immediately announce the reversal of the idea of the establishment of a Palestinian state in the heart of our country… This is the position of the president-elect as it appears in his platform, and it certainly should be ours, as well…”
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, the leader of the centrist Kulanu Party, wrote: “Israel, as the only democracy in the Middle East, salutes the US, the oldest democracy in the world, on the democratic election process that gives expression to the will of the voter. We appreciate the deep relationship between the people of Israel and the American people… [which has] crossed party lines and administrations…We look forward to working with the new administration and enhancing the strategic and economic ties between us.”
Calling Trump a “true friend” of the Jewish state,” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, a member of Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi Party, said, “I am sure he will know how to courageously navigate the free world in the global war on terror,” adding, “This is an opportunity for the American administration to move its embassy [from Tel Aviv] to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Deputy Foreign Ministry Tzipi Hotovely, who wrote that she “expects [Trump] to make good on his promise to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem,” something she said would constitute “an important historical step.”
Habayit Hayehudi MK Bezalel Smutrich reacted by calling on the government immediately to announce additional construction in the West Bank, adding a dig at the Hebrew press. “The gloomy mood of the media shows just how good [Trump’s victory] is for Israel.”
Joint List Party MK Dov Khenin — a long-time member of Israel’s communist party — responded positively on behalf of “social justice.”
Trump, he said, was not elected by a “racist minority, but by an overlooked majority of angry and frustrated citizens, whose anger at the system is not only understandable, but justified — due to record-breaking inequality, an increasing gap between the upper echelon and middle class, and a growing number of people realizing that the system is working against them. ”
Zehava Gal-On, chairman of the left-wing Meretz Party, was openly hostile.
“Trump built his candidacy on fomenting fear and hatred — and it worked for him,” she said. “But such campaigns always have consequences. We’ll be hearing more from those hate groups who were legitimized by this election.”