Many Israelis are concerned over U.S. President Joe Biden’s impending visit. His itinerary is already published, the issues on the table are known and people are worried about the Palestinian consulate, construction in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and Sheikh Jarrah. A dark cloud will hang over the visit, with the Palestinians’ desire to extract a win from it and Biden’s desire to give them one.
We can only hope the visit comes and goes in peace, and that Prime Minister Yair Lapid can charm his sleepy guest and mitigate any potential damage. Either way, the general feeling is one of immense frustration with the Biden administration, mainly from the chorus of foolish Israelis who cheered it on while ignoring the magnitude of the wasted historical opportunity we had when Donald Trump was in power.
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main achievement in terms of the Trump administration shouldn’t actually be judged according to the bottom line, although this would be quite sufficient (and in my opinion not enough). The main success was of the spirit.
When we look at the Biden administration’s positions on Israel, the impression is one of identification with a Palestinian narrative that seeks to persuade the world that Israel’s very existence is a “problem.” There are those who support this “problem” and others who have their reservations, but this has been our story since 1948: We are a “problem.” An established problem, a successful problem, a problem the Americans share many interests with, but a “problem” nonetheless.
The Trump administration’s collaboration with the Netanyahu government showed a fundamentally different perception of Israel. It approached Israel naturally, as an indisputable fact, not just because of aligned interests but because of complete identification with the Zionist narrative predicated on the natural and historical rights of the Jewish people. And it saw the Palestinian opposition to those rights as the “problem.”
Perhaps the affection for Biden among some Israelis was caused by Trump’s abrasive and problematic personality. But who the hell cares? Beggars can’t be choosers. Does Israel have the luxury of picking and choosing the source of its salvation?
Most Israelis understand this. Then why the cheers and joy over the Democratic victory and open disgust at anything connected to Trump? First, the need to look like a universalist and approach every dispute in the United States as if it’s happening here. Second, because of the need to be considered enlightened.
This is the powerful engine driving, for example, many Israelis’ emotional reaction to the issue of abortion in the U.S., as if it is any of their business. No, friends, it’s not your business. And yes, Trump was a gift. Biden is the punishment for our sins of denial and falsehood.
Kobi Arieli is a modern-Orthodox writer, columnist and stand-up comedian.
This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.