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April 10, 2019 6:16 pm

Jewish Groups Praise Israeli Democratic Process, Congratulate Netanyahu on Victory

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu casts his vote with his wife Sara during Israel’s parliamentary election in Jerusalem, April 9, 2019. Photo: Reuters/Ariel Schalit.

Jewish groups around the world generally reacted with favor on Wednesday to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection, offering congratulations and, in one case, criticism of US President Donald Trump’s involvement in Netanyahu’s campaign.

The American Jewish Committee’s CEO David Harris issued a statement saying, “The ultimate winner of Israel’s democratic elections is freedom itself. The freedom to cast a ballot. The freedom to select from literally dozens of political choices. The freedom to support the new leaders or peacefully oppose them.”

Harris said his organization “looks forward to working closely with the prime minister, whom we have known for nearly 40 years, in strengthening Israel-Diaspora relations, deepening US-Israel ties, supporting Israel’s quest for enduring peace with the Palestinians and larger Arab world, and expanding Israel’s diplomatic engagement worldwide.”

The Jewish Democratic Council of America praised the democratic process but accused President Trump of trying to influence the election in Netanyahu’s favor.

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“Israeli voters have spoken and we respect their decision,” the group tweeted, “but we cannot ignore that Trump put his thumb on the scale to influence Israel’s election. We reject his intervention in the strongest terms, just as we reject interference in our own election.”

The National Council of Young Israel said that it “extends its heartfelt congratulations to Prime Minister Netanyahu on his hard fought victory. It argued that “by working collaboratively with President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s term in office has been filled with monumental accomplishments, such as the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the decision to withdraw from the fatally flawed Iran nuclear deal, the designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, and the recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”

From the UK, the Board of Deputies of British Jews president, Marie van der Zyl, said of Netanyahu’s election, “After a polarizing campaign, with some deeply alarming rhetoric, politicians from all sides need to work hard to build trust with every section of Israeli society and not take actions and decisions which deepen divides.”

She added: “We hope that the new Government will be successful in pursuing the peace, security, prosperity, and equality that all Israeli citizens need and deserve.”

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