After a brutal primary season, the general election is in full swing in the United States. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, of course, emerged as their party’s nominees. During the nominating conventions in July, protesters of various stripes chanted “The World Is Watching.” And it is! Here in Israel, developments in the US election campaign often lead the news. So what do Israelis have to say about it?
On this episode of the JPost Podcast, we bring you another edition of Taxicab Diplomacy, where we hear what local cab drivers think about political issues. On this episode: Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton.
Israelis have always had their own perspective on US politics, and most of them filter their views through the lens of one question: what’s best for Israel? In recent years, there’s been a feeling in Israeli circles that Republican administrations are more friendly to Israeli interests. For example, former President George W. Bush, who was unpopular around much of the world by the end of his second term, still had many fans in Israel. President Barack Obama, a Democrat who is largely popular around the world, has much less support in Israel. According to a Pew survey in 2015, just 49% of Israelis had confidence in Obama, compared with a world average of 65%.
But this election year is no ordinary election year. Clinton, the first woman to lead a major US party, is a known quantity. She’s linked both to President Obama, for whom she worked as Secretary of State, and to her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who was pretty well-liked in Israel.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, is a wild card. The facts that his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism and her husband Jared Kushner is seen as traditionally pro-Israel help his case. But he’s been criticized by pro-Israel advocates for saying he’d be neutral on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
So what sticks out to Israelis? Have a listen and find out!
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