Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led a chorus of Israeli leaders in trumpeting Donald Trump’s upset victory in the U.S. presidential election. Some on the right suggested Trump’s election could mark the end of the two-state solution, of which the United States has historically been the chief broker.
Netanyahu called Trump a “true friend” of Israel and issued a boilerplate welcome to the new leader.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the ultra-right Jewish Home party saw a deeper political meaning in Trump’s win.
“The era of a Palestinian state is over,” Bennett said in a statement. He cited the Republican Party platform which omitted any reference to two states for Israelis and Palestinians, breaking with decades of Republican tradition.
“Trump’s victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the center of the country, which would hurt our security and just cause,” said Bennett.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat tweeted a signed letter to President-elect Trump, wishing him a hearty “Mazal tov.” He said he looked forward to Trump’s presidency because he was “confident” that Trump will move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, a right wing aspiration to cement Israeli control of the contested holy city.
Trump’s Israel advisor David Friedman, who will likely be Trump’s pick for Israel ambassador, committed to moving the embassy in a speech in Jerusalem last month.
Mazal tov from #Jerusalem, Mr. President! @realDonaldTrump#ElectionDaypic.twitter.com/L05W8HFNnd— Mayor Nir Barkat (@NirBarkat) November 9, 2016
Yehuda Glick, a Knesset Member with the ruling Likud Party and an activist for Jewish prayer at the contested Temple Mount holy site, congratulated Trump.
“It appears that the American people are tired of hypocrisy and political correctness and prefer straight talk,” Glick said, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Glick invited Trump to “visit Israel and Judea and Samaria to see for himself, as he claimed, that settlement is the way to peace,” referring to Jewish-only settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Oded Revivi, mayor of Efrat settlement on the West Bank, agreed.
“Our presence in Judea and Samaria is key to ensure a peaceful future for millions of Palestinians and Israelis,” said Revivi.
Even Yitzhak Herzog, Israel’s liberal opposition leader in the Zionist Union, also had kind words for Trump.
“American democracy today elected a leader who surprised the pundits, and showed that we are in an era of change and new direction. You did the unexpected, against all odds,” he said on Facebook.
“I am convinced that the security and economic alliance between Israel, and our strongest ally the United States, will continue to strengthen under your presidency.”
Merav Michaeli, a Knesset member also with Zionist Union, lamented Trump’s win, calling it a “sad day” when America elected a man who “carried a flag of hatred” toward the women and the vulnerable.
Zehava Galon, the chief of the far left Meretz party, echoed Michaeli’s lament, but said she believed that “democracy will survive the American presidency of Donald Trump.”
Naomi Zeveloff is the former Middle East correspondent of the Forward, primarily covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories.