President-elect Donald Trump and Ambassador Danny Danon.
(photo credit: BENTZI SASSON)
NEW YORK – “The elected president and the people around him – some of them I know personally for many years – are committed to the State of Israel, to the security of the State of Israel,” Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Danon met Donald Trump once, a few years before the real estate tycoon entered the political arena, and while Danon was serving in the Knesset.
“It was an interesting discussion,” the ambassador recalled.
“I got the impression that he is very smart and enthusiastic."
“He loves Israel, he likes the prime minister of Israel, and he also talked a lot about his family connection, his personal connection to Israel,” Danon continued. “I think that he will bring this enthusiasm to the White House.”
When asked whether he has concerns regarding the president- elect’s impulsiveness, Danon said he does not see reason to worry when it comes to Israel.
“The relationship between the US and Israel is very strong. It starts with our people who are connected, it goes through elected officials, the governors, the congress,” he said. “We have real friends here and I’m sure it will be the same in the White House.
“It doesn’t mean we will agree about everything all the time, I don’t think that will be the case, but I’m sure we will know how to work together,” he added. “Being in the UN I see the commitment of the US to support Israel. In all of our achievements at the UN, we are here because of the support from the US.”
Israeli diplomats in the US were instructed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu throughout the presidential race to remain strictly neutral and never take a stand on the candidates.
Responding to questions about the stark divide on the US political scene, as thousands protested the outcome of the presidential election on Wednesday, Danon said the ongoing debate shows that Israeli and American voters have much in common.
“We both complain about our democracies, we have a lot of criticism about the process and the candidates, but still we should appreciate it,” he said.
“Seeing more than 120 million people go out and vote is very unique.”
As Israeli officials have throughout the 2016 race, Danon said that both candidates were supportive of the Jewish state.
He added that in terms of dealing with the Middle East, one point is important for the next president to know: “In order to promote any process in the Middle East, you need to actually have both sides sitting down to negotiate, and you cannot impose an international agreement. Some here at the UN think they can or should bring a resolution and impose parameters. We know it’s not constructive.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who leaves office at the end of the year, also commented on the election of Trump.
“In the aftermath of a hardfought and often divisive campaign, it is worth recalling and reaffirming that the unity in diversity of the United States is one of the country’s greatest strengths,” he said “I encourage all Americans to stay true to that spirit.”