US President Donald Trump dismayed Israel last month when he abruptly decided to pull American troops out of Syria. On Thursday, Trump truly shocked the Jewish state when he bluntly stated that Iran was free to do whatever it wants in the war-torn Middle East nation.
Israel's greatest concern regarding the bloody Syrian civil war has been Iran's efforts to establish a military presence there, from which Tehran admits it intends to further threaten the Jewish state.
The American military presence on the Syria-Iraq border made it more difficult for Iran to move men and equipment into the country, and those that did get through were often subjected to devastating Israeli air strikes.
But with the border region no longer under US military control, Jerusalem fears that the Iranian military will pour into Syria precisely as upgraded Russian air defenses have downgraded Israel's ability to control the skies.
When pressed on the issue at Wednesday's cabinet meet at the White House, Trump seemed unconcerned.
The Iranians "can do what they want there, frankly," Trump blurted out.
Officially, Israel's government didn't respond to the remark. But an Israeli source speaking on condition of anonymity blasted the American leader in his own remarks to the Hebrew-language Ynet news portal.
"It is sad that [Trump] is not attentive to intelligence materials," said the source. "I am quite simply in shock. Trump simply does not know what is happening in Syria and the Iranian entrenchment there."
Those sentiments were shared by a great many Israelis, who remain convinced that Trump is the most pro-Israel US president ever, but are now left scratching their heads over his most recent moves in the Middle East.