Trump's Effect on the Israeli Right

Thursday, February 16, 2017 |  Tsvi Sadan

For Israeli right-wingers, the movement that carried Donald Trump into the White House is like a blessed wind filling the sails of a motionless ship on calm seas. 

Trump's bold pro-Israel stand filled the right-wing constituency with high hopes, some would say too high, that during his presidency Netanyahu's government would finally be able to implement its version of the Zionist vision. This entails, among other things, constitutionalizing Israel as a Jewish state and annexing at least parts of the West Bank. 

No less import, Trump's boldness inspires ministers and Knesset Members to express views they would not dare say prior to his election.

A day before Netanyahu flew to meet President Trump, the head of Jewish Home party, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, said that "after decades of misery, now there is a chance for good tidings, for a new way, getting off the idea of another Palestinian state in addition those in Gaza and Jordan." 

At the 14th Jerusalem Conference hosted by Besheva Media Group, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked expressed the same kind of bold spirit. "I view the election of President Trump as a landmark event, in a way, only the tip of the iceberg of an awe-inspiring global chain of events." The State of Israel, she said, "has a rare opportunity to shape its future and borders … it is our duty to do it … we have to make the whole world recognize our legitimate presence in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley … we must stop feeding the illusion that Israel will withdraw, freeze, disengage, hand territories over to our enemies." 

Shaked concluded her speech with "For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet" (Isaiah 62:1).        

Speaking at the same conference, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that "we have here a new historic opportunity for a new era. We return to proudly say that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people." The Temple Mount, he stressed, "is the most holy place for the Jewish people, and only for the Jewish people."    

Last, but not least, President Rivlin, who tries hard to pacify every minority, said that over the years Israel has cleverly and patiently extended its sovereignty over East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. He didn't once mention a Palestinian state. Instead, Rivlin said that if Israel decides to extend its sovereignty to Judea and Samaria, it must also grant Israeli residency status to the Palestinians. Rivlin stressed his belief that "Zion is all ours," meaning that Israel and the West Bank should be under Israeli sovereignty.

The next coming months will tell how bold is Israel in turning such clear and unambiguous statements to reality.

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