Undecided in Israel

Trump or Hillary? It’s in Israel’s best interest to sit on the sidelines and wait out the results of the forthcoming election.

Larry Gordon,

OpEds Larry Gordon
Larry Gordon
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The people we know here in Israel who are former U.S. residents seem to be rooting for Donald Trump in the upcoming elections which are being carefully watched around the world. Actually, there is an interesting balance that some are trying to strike. There is a sense that while the man and woman on the street seem rather pro-Trump, the Israeli media in general seem to be either in favor of or preparing for a Clinton victory.

At a yom tov (holiday) lunch at a friend’s Jerusalem home, the comments about Mrs. Clinton were for the most part not favorable. While Trump presents a curious if not baffling choice, the feeling is that he would act more favorably to Israel than Mrs. Clinton.


Barack Obama thought he was going to change the Muslim world and use Israel as a sacrificial element of that achievement.
Official Israel has remained neutral on the matter throughout the long campaign. And that is probably a smart stance and most likely in Israel’s best long-term interest. The media reported here during the chag that as many as 120,000 Americans residing in Israel are casting ballots in the upcoming presidential election. That’s a big number, but not significant enough to affect the outcome of the election. More importantly, activists here are reaching out to family and friends in Ohio and Florida, urging them to vote for Trump. Those are two must-win states if Trump is to have a chance at victory.

While political convention at the point of this writing (before the email disclosure, ed.) seems to indicate a momentum in favor of Clinton, the Trump folks aren’t just not conceding but are actually insisting that the statistics being presented as reflective of reality are seriously inaccurate. So the history of the last eight years would seem to have created an environment resulting in a Republican Party dream-come-true with an opportunity to take control of the White House and get to work getting this country back on track.


A Hillary presidency will be so filled with distractions and crises that there will be little time for conventional diplomacy.
But the Republicans, for a series of reasons, have imploded and are the closest thing to being in total disarray and a condition that will take years of restoration to fix. At the same time, Hillary Clinton serves up what are obviously fabrications and distorted histories without being challenged by any in the media. There is a reason why Clinton has not held a news conference in almost a year and does not appear on Fox News. The abyss in which she and her people function will be dug deeper once under the consistent and unavoidable scrutiny of the media.

And once she is elected—if she is elected—there will not be any nachas to be had by Mrs. Clinton or anyone else from her presidency. And therein lies the good news for Israel with regard to Palestinian Arab aspirations and perhaps false hopes for an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital city. That is because a Hillary presidency will be so filled with distractions and crises that there will be little time for conventional diplomacy.

That, combined with Israel’s new and improving relations with the Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the Emirates, along with solid relationships with neighbors Jordan and Egypt has shifted the backward-thinking Palestinian Authority leadership into a last priority in today’s Middle East.

It’s in Israel’s best interest to sit on the sidelines and wait out the results of the forthcoming election. It’s a big one with much at stake domestically. Eight years ago, Barack Obama thought he was going to change the Muslim world and use Israel as a sacrificial element of that achievement. While he’s been wrong on many issues, none were worse or more of a failure than his designs for the Middle East.

Trump definitely knows better, and Clinton may have learned an important lesson the hard way. Hold on tight, because here we go. 

A Personal Note

It was a wonderful three-quarters of a chag (holiday) in Israel, Eretz Yisrael. After spending the first two days of Sukkot in the Five Towns in delightful summer-like weather, it was off to the Holy Land for more of the same.

For my wife and my two younger boys, it was a new, refreshing, and different experience. Since my father passed away 26 years ago, I have for the most part made it my business and duty to be here on his yahrzeit—as he requested—which takes place on Hanukkah. The relative proximity of that holiday to Sukkot makes it difficult to be here to celebrate the just-concluded chag.

With just about every other day being yom tov (Sabbath-like holiday) or Shabbat, it was also a bit challenging to move about the country in the fashion we have grown accustomed to over all these years. Yom tov was exceptional, though, and the food way over the top. We celebrated, or should I say indulged, in a diversified way. We stayed at the magnificent Waldorf-Astoria, a hotel that over the last several years has redefined what it means to spend a chag, or any other time for that matter, in Israel.

We dined at friends’ homes, one on a rooftop overlooking the Har Habayit, the Temple Mount, the piece of valuable Jerusalem real estate in the news these days. Everyday life is normal and good here in Jerusalem. Unlike what the New York Times or CNN would have you think, the presence of the military or police on the streets is minimal. We were sitting on a bench on Jaffa Road the other night and commenting that if Mr. Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry would sit here and observe activities and action around the restaurants and local shops, they would conclude that these are good times for Israel if not for the rest of the Middle East.

And then most importantly, for us anyway, as you can see in the photo here, we made the short trip over to Bet Shemesh to stand and daven at my father’s kever (grave). It was an off-season, off-schedule visit, but then again, as you know, this was my father’s objective when he decided many years ago to be buried here. His goal and desire was for us, his children, to make Israel an important priority in our lives.

The Gordon's at father/grandfather's grave in Bet Shemesh INN:LG

After Bet Shemesh, we scooted over to Bethlehem to daven at Rachel's Tomb, Kever Rochel. We rarely miss the opportunity to do that as an expression and recognition of the heroic role Mamma Rochel played in the early development of Am Yisrael.

These are our heroes and the things we are drawn to do. They include Birkat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing, at the Kotel on chol ha’moed (the Intermediate days of the holiday), the Friday-night overflow crowd in the Old City, and focusing on the davening despite the scores of minyanim and thousands of noisy people all around us.

Who is like this people Israel? It’s pretty simple—no one.




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