Netanyahu calls Donald Trump ‘true friend’ of Israel, Israeli politicians offer congratulations


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Donald Trump on his presidential victory, calling him a “true friend of the State of Israel.”

“I look forward to working with him to advance security, stability and peace in our region,” Netanyahu said in his statement in which he declared, “The ironclad bond between the United States and Israel is rooted in shared values, buttressed by shared interests and driven by a shared destiny.

“I am confident that President-elect Trump and I will continue to strengthen the unique alliance between our two countries and bring it to ever greater heights.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, head of the opposition Zionist Union camp, offered his congratulations in a post on Facebook.

“American democracy today elected a leader who surprised the pundits, and showed that we are in an era of change and new direction. You did the unexpected, against all odds,” Herzog wrote.

“I am convinced that the security and economic alliance between Israel, and our strongest ally the United States, will continue to strengthen under your presidency.”

Zionist Union lawmaker Tzipi Livni sent Trump her congratulations on Twitter, but indirectly criticized him for his rhetoric during the campaign.

“I hope for the US and the world that he actualizes the promises of his acceptance speech, not the campaign,” she wrote.

Likud lawmaker and Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick congratulated Trump and invited him to “ascend the Temple Mount and lead from the source of light and energy a dialogue of world reconciliation and peace.”

Glick also invited Trump to “visit Israel and Judea and Samaria to see for himself, as he claimed, that settlement is the way to peace,” in reference to the West Bank.

“It appears that the American people are tired of hypocrisy and political correctness and prefer straight talk,” Glick also said.

In his congratulations to Trump, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the right-wing Jewish Home party, claimed “The era of a Palestinian state is over.”

Bennett said in a statement: “Trump’s victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the center of the country, which would hurt our security and just cause. This is the position of the president-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple.”

He said that Israel is “sure the special relationship between the United States and Israel will continue, and even grow stronger.”

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in a congratulatory letter sent to Trump reminded the president-elect of his promise to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something his three predecessors have failed to do since the passage of the Jerusalem Act in 1995.

“I am confident that you will continue to empower our city by reaffirming its sovereignty and moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem,” Barkat said in the letter posted on Twitter, calling Trump a “dedicated friend of Jerusalem.”

Prior to the election, Netanyahu reportedly ordered his Cabinet members not to comment publicly on the U.S. presidential election.

Meanwhile, Arab-Israeli lawmaker Isawi Frej, of the left wing Meretz party, called Trump’s victory a worldwide wake-up call.

“I woke up this morning to discover that Trump will be the next president of the United States,” he posted on Facebook. “The leader of the free world will be a serial harasser of women, a racist and ranter, who was democratically elected by the American people.

“Trump’s victory was not a mistake, and he is not our main problem at the moment. The direction the American people are going in, and with them the rest of the world, is the problem. The world has become more violent, more racist and more frightening.”

Palestinian leaders also were not pleased with Trump’s election.

The Palestinian Authority pledged to work with Trump to establish a Palestinian state.

“We are ready to deal with the elected president on the basis of a two-state solution and to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, an aide to P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas, the terrorist entity that controls Gaza, said it did not expect a change in how America views the Palestinians.

“The Palestinian people do not count much on any change in the US presidency because the US policy towards the Palestinian issue is a consistent policy on the basis of bias,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement. “Nevertheless, we hope that US president Trump will re-evaluate this policy and rebalance it on the Palestinian issue.”

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