Friday, October 30th | 13 Heshvan 5781

November 14, 2016 7:19 am

What Does Trump’s Election Mean for Israel and the World?

avatar by Howard Epstein

US President-elect Donald Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York in September. Photo: Facebook.

US President-elect Donald Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York in September. Photo: Facebook.

How should Israelis react to the election of Donald Trump? Given America’s loss of influence in the Middle East (with the Russians fully ensconced in Syria) and Obama’s disastrous “Pivot to the East,” something has to be done to curb Iranian (and Russian and Chinese) adventurism.

Despite his inclination to support Russia and Vladimir Putin, and his statements that he will not take action in Syria, I think Trump just might be what the Middle East — and Israelis — need.

Trump is plainly an unknown quantity, never having held public office or served in the armed forces. His choice of words has been cringe-inducing. He appeared not to learn anything from what many thought were self-destructive gaffes.

The key to the success of Trump’s presidency will be the experts who will surround him and who understand much more about their portfolios than he ever will. Take a look at the performance of Ronald Reagan. Admittedly, Reagan, the former  movie actor, had been governor of California before running for president, but nothing in his background suggested that he would be the one to bring the Soviet Union to its knees. Then there was Reaganomics — wide-ranging tax cuts, deregulation and domestic spending restraint, which fueled a two decade economic boom. And don’t forget about “Peace Through Strength,” following years of Carter-inspired decline.

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Trump was criticized for never sounding presidential. Well, he changed all that with his victory speech: coherent, intelligent and emollient; this should have instilled confidence in all but those who want him to fail. There is every chance that he will prove them wrong — again.

Brexit shook up Europe, hard. This further anti-establishment vote is a massive, radical and seismic event.

And where does Israel stand now? Instead of the likely continuation by Clinton of Obama’s unfriendly policies, not to say animus, we may speculate that the Israel-US relationship is going to improve greatly. We may yet see the US open an embassy in Jerusalem — something that Trump, like most of his predecessors, has promised to do. Further, the crimping of Iranian and Palestinian ambitions seems likely.

The first overseas leader to whom President-elect Trump spoke was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That probably bodes well for the Jewish state.

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