OpinionColumn

Netanyahu’s next US challenge: Trump

Trump believes he has reasons to be mad at Israel, and specifically at Netanyahu, as well as at U.S. Jewish voters.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a bilateral meeting at the White House on Jan. 27, 2020. Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a bilateral meeting at the White House on Jan. 27, 2020. Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead.
Ariel Kahana
Ariel Kahana is a diplomatic correspondent for Israel Hayom.

Less than a week had passed since Thomas Friedman’s dramatic column about the United States beginning to “reassess” its relationship with Israel when the phone rang at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem. President Joe Biden was on the line. He did not issue a threat or give advance warning of some realignment of U.S. policy. In fact, the conversation ended a four-month disconnect between the two men. During the call, Biden also invited Netanyahu to come visit.

Some pundits, true to their biased posture, soon began downgrading the call’s significance. It did not fit their narrative that Israel had “lost America.” Rather than ask the public to forgive them for their false prophecies, they began to engage in verbal gymnastics: “Biden never actually said he was inviting Netanyahu,” “the two won’t meet in the White House but in New York,” and so forth.

They have been predicting a “diplomatic tsunami” for the past 14 years, but the international community apparently didn’t get the memo and has actually been deepening its ties with the Jewish state throughout this period.

However, while it appears that Biden and Netanyahu are on good terms, there is one issue Netanyahu should address urgently when it comes to our relationship with Uncle Sam, and it surprisingly has to do with Donald Trump.

Despite his various indictments (a third one could be announced soon over his alleged role in the efforts to overturn the 2020 electoral college count), Trump’s chances of returning to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue are sky-high.

The problem is that Trump believes he has reason to be mad at Israel, and specifically at Netanyahu, as well as at U.S. Jewish voters who despite his historic pro-Israel policies sided with Biden in 2020. He simply can’t get around the fact that most U.S. Jews support the Democratic Party, which everyone agrees is less supportive of the Jewish state.

As for Netanyahu, there is the need to correct the false claim Trump has repeatedly made that the Israeli leader was the first to congratulate Biden upon his election in 2020. The facts simply don’t support that claim. Netanyahu was among the very last to congratulate the new U.S. president, but Trump has simply not let go of this false claim.

Trump is angry—both in public and private conversations. He has made this abundantly clear to anyone who has talked with him. The election may be more than a year out, but perhaps Netanyahu should take the initiative and call Mar-a-Lago. Having put relations with Biden back on track, it’s time to do the same with Trump.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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