A number of openly pro-Israel Republican candidates have already thrown their hats into the ring of the upcoming US presidential election. But they are largely unknown in the Jewish state. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is well known and widely admired, so her announcement elicited a much stronger Israeli response.
Most reflecting the mainstream media response was Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper, which ran a cover story on Hillary, complete with a two-page photographic look at her life and rise to power. Similarly congratulatory articles appeared on the Walla! news portal, the website of Channel 2 News, and other outlets.
“When Hillary Clinton decided to run [for president], she took yet another step toward” realizing the feminist agenda, gushed Israeli lawmaker Merav Michaeli (Labor) in an op-ed published by the left-leaning Ha’aretz.
Michaeli urged readers to hold fast to the “hope that no one will arise to stop Hillary Clinton… [who] is not just any female candidate, but the first woman to bring global attention to the notion that ‘women’s rights are human rights.’”
At the same time, the right-wing nature of the Israeli public was apparent in the comments to many of these articles, with most respondents fearful that Clinton would be even worse for Israel than President Barack Obama.
The ultra-Orthodox news portal Behadrey Haredim noted that Clinton’s campaign management had already leaked that she intends to embrace, rather than distance herself from Obama and his policies. If that extends to Obama’s policies vis-a-vis Israel, Iran and the rest of the Middle East, Clinton might soon earn a new, more negative reputation in this region.