Republican Donald Trump has won the election and will be America’s 45th president. In Israel, as in the other countries, the political drama in the US was followed closely. From the Israeli perspective, many believed the 70-year-old Trump was better for their nation’s interests than Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
In the eyes of most Israelis, Clinton is a female version of current US President Barack Obama. She represents nothing new in terms of US policy, and most especially in terms of foreign policy in the Middle East. And according to the Israeli and Arab media, naive US policy in this region bears much of the blame for the current turmoil.
Israeli government ministers, who were forbidden by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to comment publicly on the election, quietly feared that Clinton would only exacerbate the Middle East’s problems, to Israel’s detriment. At the same time, Trump is a big questions mark, and there is some risk in his taking the helm.
But it was precisely for this reason that many of my colleagues in the Israeli media, local politicians and experts felt that it was better to venture a gamble with Trump and hope for a new foreign policy for the Middle East.
Yesterday’s spectacle in America was very reminiscent of our last national election in Israel. The media predicted Netanyahu would lose, and drove that message home at every opportunity, only to see the incumbent prime minister soar to an easy victory. In both cases, the mainstream media was either badly misinformed or was deliberately trying to influence the election results.
Either way, all we can say today is “God bless America and Israel!”