The Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

E. Navon and E. Lerman: Pompeo’s appointment will likely be positive for Israel

By John T. Huddy


Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu lauded U.S. President Donald Trump’s pick for new U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, a move political experts agree signals the American leader’s willingness to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement.

“In my meetings with Pompeo, I was very impressed by his abilities and experience, and I believe that in his role as secretary of state, we will work very well together,” Prime Minister Netanyahu wrote in a statement, which did not mention outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Mike Pompeo, who is Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is known to be an Iran “hawk” and one of the leading critics of the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Professor Emmanuel Navon, an International Relations lecturer at Tel Aviv University and a Senior Fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, said Tillerson’s ouster was likely precipitated by President Trump’s position on Tehran, an issue they disagreed on.

“As far as Netanyahu is concerned, I’m sure he’s very satisfied about the change because he’s been arguing the deal should be fixed or nixed, and it’s not going to be fixed,” Navon told The Media Line. “It just goes to show [Trump] is serious about pulling out of the deal and re-imposing sanctions.”

But Navon questioned if it was the right move.

“I’m not 100 percent sure that just pulling out without a Plan B is the best scenario for Israel,” he stressed.

Dr. Eran Lerman, the former deputy director for foreign policy and international affairs at Israel’s National Security Council, told The Media Line that Pompeo appears to be a good appointment.

“Tillerson left the State Department in a much-reduced level of capacity,” he said. “Pompeo looks to be a very effective individual.”

Lerman believes Pompeo’s appointment will likely be positive for Israel, considering his tough stance on the Islamic Republic and that Jerusalem remains interested in “a strong, robust America with a strong and effective presence in the region.”

Pompeo also praised Prime Minister Netanyahu after they met during the former’s visit to Israel in 2015, while he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.


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