The prime minister knows Israel needs a US president who is measured, consistent and credible, all qualities Trump lacks.
In his heart of hearts, and certainly not to be discussed with his political sugar daddy Sheldon Adelson, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is probably hoping for a Hillary Clinton victory in November’s US presidential election. And despite what former New York City mayor Rudi Giuliani believes, Israel’s right-wing leader will prefer dealing with the first woman president in America’s history than the flamboyant, uncontrollable and unpredictable Republican candidate Donald Trump.
Netanyahu hates surprises, and Trump’s whole candidacy has been one huge surprise, from his decision to run, his winning the Republican nomination and his sudden surge in the head-to-head polls against Clinton. More pertinently for Netanyahu, no one has a real clue as to where Trump stands on issues of vital importance to Israel.
Trump’s flirtation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, unlike our own Avigdor Liberman’s embarrassing endorsement of Putin’s democratic credentials when Liberman was foreign minister, would seriously endanger the West, and by extension Israel, were Trump ever get to sit in the Oval Office. A strengthening of Russia’s standing at the expense of the US would have serious knock-on effects in the Middle East, in particular boosting Russia’s de facto allies Iran and Hezbollah.
More widely, Trump’s willingness to discuss recognizing Russia’s land grab in the Crimean and his threats to weaken NATO would be a disastrous reshuffling of the post-Cold War order. Trump’s strident isolationism will certainly be setting off alarm bells in the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. Take a look at Trump’s remarks regarding his commitment to the NATO alliance: “I want to keep NATO , but I want them to pay,” Trump told a rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania, last week.
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