The Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

Dr. Eran Lerman: The Trump administration has positioned itself on a whole range of major issues where the vast majority of Israelis want to be.

NBC News 26.10.2020

By Paul Goldman and Saphora Smith

TEL AVIV — If the U.S. election were held in Israel, President Donald Trump would most likely win in a landslide.

In a Pew Research Center survey last year, 71 percent of Israelis expressed confidence in Trump to do the right thing regarding world affairs, a higher rate than in any of the other 31 countries surveyed except the Philippines.

In Israel, Trump will be remembered as the U.S. president who recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, breaking with decades of American precedent.

His administration will also be remembered for pulling out of a nuclear deal with Israel’s archenemy, Iran; recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights; brokering agreements to normalize ties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain; and presenting a plan to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The Trump administration has positioned itself on a whole range of major issues where the vast majority of Israelis want to be,” said Eran Lerman, vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security. “All of this would be put in question if Trump loses the election.”

The U.S. has long tried to broker a peace between Israel and the Palestinians. However, U.S.-Palestinian relations have soured under Trump after he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, cut hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. aid to the Palestinians, shut their diplomatic offices in Washington and presented a peace plan that Palestinians said largely favored Israel.

Palestinian leaders have accused the Trump administration of pro-Israel bias and severed ties with the president.

According to one recent survey, only 16 percent of respondents in Israel said they would prefer a Joe Biden presidency.

Biden has said his commitment to Israel is “unshakable.” However, some are concerned about the pressure he may come under from members of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, according to Lerman, some of whom are outspoken critics of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and its treatment of Palestinians.

“The perception here is that the Democratic Party is less beneficial to Israel than Trump,” said Rachel Alkalay, 66, a Tel Aviv lawyer who described herself as a centrist.

Israelis also believe that Biden, if elected, would revive the nuclear deal with Tehran, she said. Israel is concerned that a nuclear-armed Iran would be an existential threat to the Jewish state.

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