Tattered flags and disbelief: Americans in Israel react to Trump victory

Even among Trump supporters there was disbelief at the New York billionaire’s victory.

November 10, 2016 05:45
3 minute read.
he view from Mike's Place in Tel Aviv on Wednesday as anglos mourn and celebrate Trump's victory.

he view from Mike's Place in Tel Aviv on Wednesday as anglos mourn and celebrate Trump's victory. . (photo credit: ELIYAHU KAMISHER)

On Wednesday afternoon Mike’s Place, a largely Anglo-bar in Tel Aviv is subdued as a waiter sweeps up broken glass. “We’re drinking,” says Christina Crandell, 36, from Washington State. “We’re embarrassed. I feel like now I am going to have to kind of explain myself when I’m overseas. It’s going to be kinda like the George Bush years.”

“I think it’ll be worse than that,” added Todd Mclaws, 35, from Oregon while drinking a Goldstar. “I’m disappointed; I don’t feel like this is real,” Mclaws said. Both Crandell and Mclaws were Clinton supporters, and like many other Americans, they trusted polls that showed Hillary Clinton as the overwhelming favorite to win. Now they are drinking away the pain of defeat underneath the tattered American flags from last night’s election party held at Mike’s place.

Even among Trump supporters there was disbelief at the New York billionaire’s victory. “I thought the election was rigged. I guess it wasn’t,” said a contractor for the US Embassy from Alabama who declined to give his name. Wearing a “bad to the bone” shirt and munching on a hamburger, the contractor praised Donald Trump as the best choice for Israel and the United States. “I think Donald is going to do Israel right, have faith and give him time,” he said.

A few blocks from Mike’s Place past the McDonald’s and Americana Ice Cream store Ariyeh Frankowitz, 31, an Israeli-American from Jerusalem was finishing up business at the US Embassy. Frankowitz said he is indifferent to Trump. “If he does according to what he says with Israel, it’ll be OK. But I don’t know,” he remarked.

In Jerusalem, Reverend Rebecca Brimmer of Bridges for Peace, a Evangelical Christian group said that she voted for Trump for religious reasons. “I voted for Israel by voting for Trump. I feel that he and Mike Pence, have a clarion vision of support for Israel. As Christians we believe that if we bless Israel we will be blessed.”

Israelis for their part are filling up the streets with nonstop chatter on the election. “Trump should go in the garbage!” one man said while arguing with another on a park bench. “He is like Bibi [the nickname for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu]!” another man approvingly exclaimed while standing in line for the ATM.

At the US Embassy’s election party held Tuesday night to early Wednesday morning at the Dan Panorama a nonscientific survey conducted by this reporter, showed a largely supportive atmosphere for Hillary Clinton and most believed she would break the glass ceiling.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post that night Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli optimistically said a Clinton win would bring historic change for the cause of women empowerment. “We can’t be what we can’t see. If [Clinton wins the presidency] it means that women can be leaders, it means that the world is changing and will change even more and faster,” Michaeli said.

On Wednesday Michaeli conceded her optimism. “It’s a tough day when the person elected carries the flag of hatred, hurt, and humiliation of women and others. This is a tough day for all the men and women that looked up to the first women who had a justified and real chance to be in the role of leader of the free world,” Michaeli said in a statement on her official Facebook page.

Joe Peterson, 45, a manger of Mike’s Place, casted an absentee ballot for Clinton in Nevada. “I stayed up all night and when the decision came it felt like a punch to the gut,” he said, adding that he believed Trump voters were not thinking logically and instead “came from anger.”

Nevertheless, as a former police officer, Peterson believes Trump will do a better job of defending the US police force. “It feels good when there’s a leader not criticizing you. Who understands the job,” he said.

So in Tel Aviv, while some Anglos lick their wounds and others celebrate an unexpected victory, both groups gathered at Mike’s place for a beer. “We are just getting started,” said Crandell.

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