Donald Trump
Donald Trump Reuters

Donald Trump’s surprising win may have spurred increased chatter among some Americans — Jews among them — about moving to Canada. But for Israelis, at least, the U.S. hasn’t lost its luster.

Citizens of the Jewish state are as eager as ever to visit, and Trump’s election apparently hasn’t altered any of their travel plans.

On Monday morning, dozens of Israelis lined up outside the U.S. Embassy here to acquire American travel documents. While the embassy does not provide official numbers about applications, guards outside the building said some 600 to 700 people were coming from throughout the country every day — in other words, business as usual.

About a dozen Israelis spoke to JTA as they left the embassy’s sprawling beachside compound, many clutching new passports or visas.

Being familiar with Israel’s fragmented politics, they were not completely shocked by Trump’s divisive rise. Though some voiced concern about his experience and temperament, all agreed that the former reality TV star would likely do a better job than President Barack Obama had of protecting the interests of Israel and the Jews, which they did not seem to distinguish.

“I think we’ve heard the real voice of what’s happening in the U.S.,” said Rachel Baram, a 39-year-old Israeli-American manager at a web development company who was renewing her U.S. passport ahead of an upcoming business trip to Orlando, Florida. “After the shock, I’m kind of optimistic. I think Trump could get things done because he’s not an idealist.

“I do think he’s kind of nuts, though,” she added, half whispering.

Baram said Trump appealed to so many Americans partly because the left pushed its agenda too hard under Obama — just as Israelis did in trying to make peace with the Palestinian Arabs.

“It’s the same right-left issues we have here,” she said. “The left bullies people, and it creates resentment. Then you get these reality TV politics.

“But I’m not worried about American Jews, and I think the starting point for Israel is better than it was with Obama. At least he won’t focus just on the (Jewish) settlements.”

Prior to the election, a survey found that Israelis would have preferred to see Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, in the White House over the Republican Trump, 43 to 34 percent — even though 38 percent thought Trump would be better for Israel compared to 33 percent who said Clinton.

According to an Election Day poll, 70 percent of American Jews voted for Clinton while 25 percent cast their ballots for Trump.