Trumpeting in the new

Chabad attributes Trump's victory to the fact that his daughter Ivanka visited the grave of the Lubavicher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson on Saturday night and asked for a blessing.

November 10, 2016 20:48
President Rivlin welcomes Prime Minister Medvedev of Russia

President Rivlin welcomes Prime Minister Medvedev of Russia. (photo credit: CHAIM ZACH / GPO)

There may have been a certain prescience on the part of Ambassador Dan Shapiro when he said at the election party that he and the US Embassy hosted at the Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv on Tuesday that the result would be historic whoever wins and that the post-election period would be a time for healing.

Indeed President-elect Donald Trump left many wounded in the wake of his campaign, especially Muslims, so much so that Royal Jordanian Airlines tweeted on Election Day: “Just in case he wins travel to the US while you’re still allowed to.”

Even though Trump’s victory address took on a much more conciliatory – at times even humble – tone and included flattering comments about Hillary Clinton, there were spontaneous anti- Trump demonstrations in various parts of America.

Chabad attributes his victory to the fact that his daughter Ivanka visited the grave of the Lubavicher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson on Saturday night and asked for a blessing.

It’s not certain whether there was any fashion coordination between the Trump and Clinton teams for his victory speech and her gracious concession speech, but royal purple certainly stood out. Two of Trump’s female relatives chose it for their dresses, and Clinton wore a suit with purple lapels over a purple top, while her husband, former US president Bill Clinton, sported a purple tie.

The chemistry allegedly lacking between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama, reportedly exists between the PM and Trump, aside from which they both enjoy the support of US billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who in all probability will be invited to join the White House meeting between Trump and Netanyahu a few weeks after Trump’s inauguration.

The big question in Israel is not so much whether Trump will cut down on America’s financial support for Israel, but whether he will honor his pledge to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. America owns or rents several properties in the capital, and in June 2014, acquired the Diplomat Hotel, which used to serve as an immigrant absorption center and in recent years has been home to a large number of senior citizen immigrants – most of them from the former Soviet Union. The Americans agreed to give the occupants time to find alternate accommodation and said that they wouldn’t do anything about taking over the premises till after 2016, meaning in another month and a half. The dislodging of Russian citizens may not be particularly pleasing to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who is currently visiting Israel and who checked into the King David Hotel on Wednesday night.

The Diplomat Hotel is an ideal size for the humongous US Embassy, and the Americans also own land not too far away from there for the construction of either an embassy or a residence for the ambassador. But it’s all still an if and when affair.

At a function in New York at which he was honored by the World Jewish Congress on Wednesday night, Vice President Joe Biden said that even if Trump did not want to maintain current levels of support for Israel, Congress and the US public would stand up for Israel.

“I stand here to tell you that I have no doubt, none whatsoever, that in the Trump administration there will be no diminution of support as a consequence of this transition,” Biden declared. “Even if the new administration was inclined to reduce the commitment, which it is not, Congress would never let it happen, the American people would never let it happen.”

People were quick to get on the Trump bandwagon. No sooner did it become clear that a Trump triumph was in the offing than Eyal Segal, the CEO of Hotels Combined, decided to let Israelis know what it costs in their own currency to stay at a luxury Trump hotel. The Trump International Las Vegas charges NIS 1,130 per night; the Trump SoHo New York NIS 2,380; the Trump International Hotel New York NIS 2,751; and the New Trump International Hotel Washington NIS 2,380. The latter, which was opened during the last leg of the presidential campaign, makes Trump the first president to have two homes away from home on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Later in the day the Israel Council on Foreign Relations issued an invitation to a panel discussion on what the presidency will mean to Israel and the wider world. The event, which symbolically takes place on November 29, the date the UN General Assembly voted in 1947 in favor of partition and the creation of a Jewish state, was obviously planned well in advance, and all they were waiting for was to see whether to write Trump or Clinton ahead of the word “presidency.”

■ ONE OF the best known of Christian Zionists residing in Israel is Dr. Petra Heldt, who is originally from Germany, and has been living in Israel since 1979 with her Welsh husband, Malcolm F. Lowe, a philosopher and writer.

She is a director of the Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity in Israel, which was founded in 1966, and studies and teaches Judaism and Christianity with the aim of developing mutual understanding between Jews and Christians, locally and internationally. ETRFI is affiliated in one way or another with several Jewish, Christian and ecumenical organizations. It also supports cultural activities, one of which is an organ recital this Saturday night, at the Redeemer Church in Jerusalem. The organist is Christiane Klein from Germany, who Heldt says is not only a great musician, but also a great Zionist who has done amazing things for Zionism both in Germany and Israel. The program will include works by Mendelssohn, Bach and others. In addition to hearing beautiful music, beautifully played, Jews and Muslims can add a little enrichment to their lives by networking with Christians.

■ AS HAS been mentioned previously in this column, journalists in the print media often write in a vacuum, not knowing who out there is reading what they write, or how many people are reading.

It’s only when we make mistakes and readers write in with corrections that there is a sense of gratification in the knowledge that at least a few people did read what came forth from our keyboards. In last Sunday’s column, when writing about the miraculous recovery of brothers Michael and Yitzhak Gross, the cause given for their illness was completely incorrect. The reason that their hearts were weakened was that an irresponsible exterminator sprayed highly toxic pesticides in their home, causing the whole family to become critically ill, and resulting in the deaths of the boys’ younger sisters Yael and Avigail. Another mistake, made in last Wednesday’s column, was forgetting that not only Chaim Herzog visited Australia as president, but also Moshe Katsav, so that President Reuven Rivlin, who is visiting India next week, will eventually be the third Israeli president to visit Australia, when he finally reschedules the visit that he was supposed to make in March of this year.

■ THE COMMONWEALTH is coming. Following the recent visit by Canada’s Governor-General David Johnston, there will be numerous Canadian events around the country over the coming week beginning with a meeting in Tel Aviv hosted by Mayor Ron Huldai for the mayors of Montreal and Toronto Denis Coderre and John Tory, respectively who are heading joint and separate missions to Israel.

The mayors will be accompanied by 120 Montreal and Toronto entrepreneurs, business people and representatives of institutional and community organizations. They will visit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beersheba and will also tour parts of the Palestinian Authority – primarily Ramallah and Bethlehem. Participants will also attend the International HLS & Cyber 2016 Conference on physical and cyber security, and the 31st International Conference of Mayors, organized by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Concurrently, there will be an Australian Cyber Trade Mission headed by Philip Dalidakis, MP, the Victorian minister for innovation, trade & small business.

In addition to the over-all relationship between Israel and Australia, there is a very special relationship with the State of Victoria. The presence of the delegation gives Israelis who do business in and with Victoria an opportunity to learn about economic development there, and about Victoria’s ambitions to be a cyber regional hub for the Asia Pacific. Minister Dalidakis, a native son of Melbourne, which is Victoria’s capital, is passionate about the city and its growth as the state’s dominant technology sector. He is an ardent champion of start-ups, innovation, cyber security and digital technology not just for Victoria, but for Australia and the Asia Pacific region. The Victorian government is leading the Australian national agenda regarding the creation of class-leading cyber security infrastructure such as the Oceania Cyber Security Center (OCSC), which will ensure that Victoria stays at the forefront of Australia’s expertise and capabilities in cyber security. The center will host the national cyber security center for Data61 (CSIRO) – one of the largest digital research teams in the world – and will host a collaboration with Oxford University’s world-leading Global Cyber Security Capacity Center (GCSCC).

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