In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv and Orlando, a cross section of Jerusalem residents on Tuesday expressed sharply divided opinions over whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would be more effective as US president in the battle against terrorism.
While sitting in a coffee shop on Jaffa Road with his wife and two small children, Dror Zaideberg, a 40-year-old deliveryman, said Clinton’s measured approach to the epidemic is preferable to Trump’s heated rhetoric.
“I prefer Clinton, because she thinks about things more deeply and doesn’t just run out and talk without considering the implications of her words, and a thoughtful move is better than an impulsive move regarding results,” Zaideberg said.
“Trump is a TV pop star, and when it comes to terrorism he is an amateur compared to her.
She is the real deal.”
Citing Trump’s impetuous nature, Shir, a 21-year-old waitress who recently completed her national service, echoed Zaideberg’s sentiments.
“Hillary is better for sure because she is less rash,” she said. “I think that in order to deal with a problem like terrorism, when you are dealing with fanatic extremists, you have to be able to put aside ego and testosterone and not act in a way that says ‘We’ll show them!’” Though Shir conceded that anger is justifiable in the face of evil, she noted that “acting out of anger is not a wise policy in a leader.”
“I think that Donald Trump inspires anger; that’s his thing, that’s what he feeds off of,” she said. “His whole campaign is based on ‘We’re going to be the biggest and the baddest, and we’re going to be winners,’ and I don’t think that’s wise policy because it’s so much more complicated than that.
“A leader needs to have an eye for subtlety to deal with such a terrible situation, and making it all about the ego of the country and the ego of the people misses the point – misses what really needs to be dealt with to protect people’s lives, instead of one-upping terrible people.”
Not so, says Ronen Turgeman, a coffee shop owner in his 40s.
“I think Donald Trump is better because he is strong and not afraid of anything, so this is better for Israel and the US’s security,” he said. “Hillary Clinton does not have his strength.”
Trond Anderson, 56, a retired security adviser, agreed with Turgeman’s contention.
“I would vote for Trump because security-wise he is the better candidate,” he said. “He was in business all his life and knows how to operate a huge corporation and he’s not politically correct, which I think is an asset.”
Clinton, he argued, “turns her cape with the wind.”
“She doesn’t seem sincere, and of the two of them, I think Trump is the best [to fight terrorism],” Andersen added.
Still, Elad, a 32-year-old student who requested his last name not be published, cited Clinton’s moderate stance as safer than Trump’s vitriolic outlook.
“She’s more stable and he’s unpredictable, and in the war against terrorism that is not a good thing,” he said.
Rachel Ifrah, a 38-year-old accountant, said her preference is based solely along party lines.
“I prefer Trump because he is a Republican, and we know from the past that Republicans are better to fight terrorism and to help Israel than Democrats,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter if the Republican is Trump or someone else, any Republican is better than a Democrat in the war against terrorism. Obama was not good at all.”
While Yoav Mizrachi, 22, a recently discharged Golani brigadier, said he does not believe that Trump will be better for Israel than Clinton, he expressed more confidence in the latter candidate when it comes to terrorism.
“He’s more aggressive, and you need aggression when fighting terrorism,” Mizrachi said.
“When fighting terrorism you need to be strong, and Clinton is like Obama, who let the terrorists have more power by not denouncing radical Islam… Their whole purpose is to kill Jews and reclaim Israel, and Obama wants to talk to them and open doors for negotiation, while Trump will close all the doors and shut them down.”
Meanwhile, Doron Rotem, a 55-year-old owner of Saphir Music on Ben Yehuda Street, said neither candidate is acceptable.
“Trump is a bit crazy; he’s too much to the right,” he said.
“And Hillary Clinton is running in the image of Obama, so that’s not good either.”
“Like in Israel, all over the world we don’t have good leaders,” he concluded.