Why Americans in Israel must vote for Trump

Israelis may have been spared a fourth round of local elections, but Americans in Israel must cast their ballots to decide Israel's future.


Martin Oliner
Martin Oliner
Eliran Aharon

Were it not for the agreement reached between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party on Monday night, Israelis would have gone to the polls in November.

Despite Israel’s crisis being solved, some 300,000 Israelis can still exercise their democratic right to cast ballots in an election in November.

That is roughly the number of residents of Israel who are eligible to vote by absentee ballot in the November 3 election in the United States.

Four years ago, there was a high-profile campaign in Israel for then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Stickers bearing Trump’s name in Hebrew were handed out in Israeli malls, and the president addressed a campaign rally in Jerusalem’s Old City by video.

This time, Americans in Israel have been relatively silent about the US election, when they really should be shouting out loud and going to vote in droves.

On the one hand, it is understandable why there was such so much more enthusiasm and motivation about voting four years ago. Americans who care about Israel had just endured eight years of Barack Obama and Joe Biden in power and saw the way they advanced a deal with Iran while throwing Israel under the bus at the United Nations.

They had every right to be terrified that Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, would continue his policies that endangered Israel's future existence and the special relationship between Israel and the United States.

But on the other hand, four years ago, American voters in Israel could only guess what they would be getting if Trump became president. They heard his campaign promises to move America’s embassy to Jerusalem and defend Israel at the UN, but who believes what any politician says during a campaign?

Now, after four wonderful years of making both America and Israel great again, President Trump’s actions speak even louder than his words, which is saying a lot.

The move of America’s embassy to Jerusalem is no longer a promise made by president after president but an actual building with an American flag flying high with pride in Israel’s capital that is finally recognized by the United States. The building has the names of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and always will.

A few minutes’ drive away from the embassy are thriving Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria that the US government no longer calls illegal settlements and no longer instigates an international uproar when a family builds a home for their grown children across the street.

This American administration recognized Israel’s control over the Golan Heights after the previous administration of Obama and Biden would not even recognize that the Syrian regime had to be punished for using chemical weapons against its own people.

The Obama-Biden government made a despicable deal with Iran that ended soon after Donald Trump became president of the United States. Relentless American pressure continues on Iran, but it would obviously end immediately if Biden becomes president and seeks another deal with Iran at Israel’s expense.

Even the UN, where the Obama-Biden administration gave Israel a parting pie in the face before they left office, became a much less hostile place for the Jewish State as soon as President Trump took over. Biden did nothing to stop Obama from pushing forward UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which called Jews living in their Biblical heartland a "flagrant violation" of international law with "no legal validity."

While Obama and Biden chose to battle against Israel in the final months of their term, President Trump is ending this term by facilitating Israel making peace with its Arab Muslim neighbors. The deal with the UAE is already fostering economic cooperation that will benefit the entire world and could even help put a stop to COVID-19.

So if they voted four years ago, how could Americans in Israel neglect to perform their civic duty this time around? How can they not have hakarat hatov – gratefulness – to President Trump for all the good he has done for the two countries they love?

Even Israelis from firmly red and blue states have to cast ballots. Their votes may not end up making a difference in the electoral college, but they will be counted by the Trump campaign as the ultimate thank you note.

Their ballots could also end up helping key local races and perhaps will be the deciding votes that enable the Republican Party to maintain control of the Senate. If Americans in Israel voted four years ago before they had heard of Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib or knew what AOC stood for, how could they not vote now, when the progressive wing has become such a dominant force in the Democratic Party?

For centuries, Jews were deprived of the right to vote by despicable anti-Israel leaders in countries around the world. Now it is easier than ever to vote for the most pro-Israel leader of the free world in the history of mankind.

This article is intended to serve as a wake-up call to Americans in Israel. They were spared the burden of voting in yet another intense Israeli election, but they have the responsibility to cast their ballots in an another election that will go a long way to deciding Israel’s future.

The writer is co-president of the Religious Zionists of America, chairman of the Center for Righteousness and Integrity, and a committee member of the Jewish Agency. Martinoliner@gmail.com