Netanyahu denies Israeli government prefers Trump over Clinton

“The Prime Minister expressed no preference whatsoever in this presidential race,” Netanyahu's spokesman said. “He has scrupulously avoided being dragged into American politics."

July 28, 2016 12:13
2 minute read.
Israel US

Trump Netanyahu and Clinton. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Jerusalem unequivocally denied on Thursday that Israel’s leadership expressed a preference for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the US presidential race, following a Washington Post story quoting former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani as saying that was the case.

“The Prime Minister expressed no preference whatsoever in this presidential race,” Netanyahu’s spokesman David Keyes said.

“He has scrupulously avoided being dragged into American politics, and looks forward to working with whomever the American people decide to elect.”

The Washington Post on Wednesday quoted Giuliani, who was in Israel in the Spring and met with Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders, as saying, “I’ve talked to the members of the Israeli government at the highest levels. I know who they want elected here. It’s not Hillary Clinton. It’s not Obama 3.”

Giuliani was further quoted as saying that the Israeli leadership is “politically aware enough to know that if Hillary gets elected, she is going to go further to her left, to protect her left flank against Elizabeth Warren. They know she’s going to start the twostate solution thing again, cave in to the Palestinians.

They realize Donald Trump can say Islamic terrorism, can stand up to it. So there’s no question he would be better for the state of Israel than Hillary.”

Netanyahu hosted then-Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney for dinner in the summer of 2012 in Jerusalem, leaving many with the impression that he favored Romney over US President Barack Obama in that year’s race. In the summer of 2008, when Obama was the Democratic presidential candidate, he also came to Israel and had dinner with then prime minister Ehud Olmert.

Few read that meeting, however, as an indication that Olmert preferred Obama over his rival at the time, John McCain.

Trump was asked at his Florida press conference on Wednesday whether he intended to visit Israel.

“Well, it’s a tradition,” Trump said of presidential candidates visiting Israel before the elections, “but I don’t do things that are traditional.

But I have great support from Israel. I will back Israel 100 percent. I would like to go there. But I have great relationships as you know, to the people in Israel.”

Trump added, “And by the way, Obama in my opinion is the single worst thing politically speaking that’s ever happened to Israel. He has been a disaster for Israel.”

Trump had intended to visit Israel In December, but called that trip off shortly after Netanyahu joined many others around the world and rejected Trump’s comments about the need for the US to institute a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Some 37 MKs, including two from the coalition, signed a letter at the time calling on the premier to cancel his planned meeting with Trump.

Netanyahu’s aides stressed then that the prime minister “absolutely did not” ask Trump to cancel his visit.

Trump announced the postponement then of his trip to Israel with a tweet saying he would instead visit after he is elected president.

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said Thursday that they have not heard at this point of any intention by Trump, Clinton or their running mates to visit the country before the November 8 election.

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