Knesset Members answer: What did you think of Trump's visit?

Were expectations too high or too low?

May 24, 2017 18:47
4 minute read.
donald trump in israel

US President Donald Trump (C) speaks during a welcoming ceremony upon his arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod near Tel Aviv, Israel May 22, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Earlier this week, The Jerusalem Post asked lawmakers from every faction in the Knesset what they expected from US President Donald Trump's visit. Now that Trump and his entourage have left, the same MKs now weigh in on whether or not their expectations were met..

MK Anat Berko (Likud - Right): “Trump was very decisive in relation to terrorism. He spoke about it very clearly, even making [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas seem uncomfortable next to him when [Trump] said not to support or pay terrorists. And then there was the horrible attack in Manchester, which reminded me very much of the Dolphinarium [2001 Palestinian terrorist attack in Tel Aviv] with so many young people killed. It was horrible, heartbreaking... Trump’s message was zero tolerance for terrorism and murder of civilians... He also showed a lot of feeling for the connection between Jews and Jerusalem... I hope he’ll find a way to move the embassy to Jerusalem. If he talks so much about the Jewish connection, then why not move the embassy?”

Anat Berko. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem

MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin
(Zionist Union - Left): “It was very nice that the relationship is warm and there is chemistry between the two leaders. I’m trying not to be cynical... The thing is, I heard the subtext. It’s that [Trump] won’t mess around with the details, his lawyer will do that, and [Special Envoy Jason] Greenblatt is coming on Thursday... I don’t think Trump will like it if we don’t come up with our own plan. It’s time to see if we can pursue a secure and reasonable solution for separating from the Palestinians, rather than having the Americans impose one. I would really like to see where this is going... People need to come back down to earth.”

Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin. Credit: Facebook

MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List - Arab): “There is no doubt that Trump showered the State of Israel with love in a rightwing style that tickles Netanyahu, without any mention of the points of dispute in the conflict: Not settlements and not a Palestinian state. I hope that the content and meaning will be more important than the speeches he gave here.”

Ahmad Tibi. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem

MK Ya'acov Peri (Yesh Atid - Center-Left): “Trump’s visit left both sides of the political map satisfied. I estimate that in closed meetings the president brought a message from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States that they’re ready for diplomatic- regional cooperation on the condition that Israel agrees to renew negotiations with the Palestinians. I hope that the government of Israel and its leader will meet the challenge.”

Ya'acov Peri. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem

MK Rachel Azaria
(Kulanu - Center-Right): “I think it was good and successful. We got a sense that we can work together... I think there may be some breakthroughs [in trade]. I think the visit was important, because in every new administration we want to reinforce that our strategic relationship and cooperation are important, and this visit definitely did that. Now we have to do the real work.”

Rachel Azaria. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi - Far-Right): “Altogether it was very good for Israel, from what we saw on the outside. He didn’t say Palestinian state or two states or anything about settlements, and criticized the other side for funding terrorism. I think that makes it easier for us and we can build more in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem after an eight-year freeze... I’m concerned that behind the scenes in the coming weeks there’ll be pressure. There’s nothing to talk about, because the other side just isn’t willing to accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state... As long as that doesn’t change, it’s a waste of time to talk or pay prices. The other side needs to make goodwill gestures, stop incitement and stop terrorists’ salaries, and then we’ll have what to talk about.”

Bezalel Smotrich. Credit: Courtesy/Regavim

MK Yoav Ben-Tsur (Shas - Sephardic Haredi): “President Trump acted responsibly and statesmanlike, and expressed loyalty and commitment to the State of Israel. I hope that from now on, the relations between Jerusalem and Washington will continue to grow stronger, along with strategic cooperation.”

Yoav Ben-Tzur. Credit: Courtesy

MK Yisrael Eichler (UTJ - Ashkenazi Haredi): “I am happy that our brothers in America got to see how the Trump family respected the tradition and sanctity of the Western Wall, with men and women each in their respective places.”

Yisrael Eichler. Credit:

MK Oded Forrer (Yisrael Beytenu - Right): “I think it was excellent. It can be called historic. Trump chose to visit the Western Wall together with his family, something that no serving president did before, and that marks a change in American policy. He presented a change in attitude, saying that he won’t force a solution, and that is the right attitude and the only one that can work.”

 The Yisrael Beytenu political party. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem

MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz - Far Left): “As someone who didn’t take part in the mania or depression over Trump at any point, I didn’t have high hopes. I think our fate is in our hands... I think the hopes that the Right are pinning on his speech aren’t in Israel’s interest. We shouldn’t make the two-state solution disappear or annex territory instead of solving the conflict and reaching peace. The fact that the small chance there’ll be peace is seen as a threat to Netanyahu is shameful for us as Israelis.”

Tamar Zandberg. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem

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