1. Donald Trump is the most pro - Israel president in American history. He has repeatedly demonstrated his sympathy and support for the Jewish state. He has done all he set out to do. Unlike many of his predecessors, he made good on his promises. You don't have to a fan of him, his opinions, qualities, or personal traits to agree with this and give thanks to him for standing by our side throughout his term in office.
2. As part of their appeal to Jewish voters, almost every American presidential candidate in recent decades, from across the party divide, has made moving the US embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem part of their election campaign. Once they got the nod, however, it was a different story. Trump is the only one who came through on his promise.
3. Even before the embassy move, Trump was the first American president to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. This may be hard to believe, but up until three years ago, Jerusalem's status as the capital of the Jewish State was not recognized by our closest ally. They didn't recognize the fact of a united Jerusalem; even Israel's rights to Western Jerusalem.
All the administrations that served before Trump refused to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, arguing that the final status of the Holy City need be determined during negotiations between Israel and the PA. The seemingly-obvious recognition of Ben-Gurion's decision to establish Western Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 1949 had been at the mercy of stubborn Arab rejection. US citizens born in Jerusalem were not allowed to be registered as being born in Israel prior to Trump's premiership. The spot where their country of birth was supposed to show up remained empty even after a 2002 decision by both the US legislative bodies agreed to allow for the provision. The State Department ignored everyone, arguing that the final call should be made by the President. In 2015, the ruling was even upheld by the Supreme Court, but Obama refused to sign it into law. Trump deserves to be engraved in the history of the Jewish people and State of Israel for this step alone.
Every year during recital of the Purim Haggadah, we praise Harvona, King Achashverosh's aide who reminded the Persian sovereign that Mordechai was the one who had prevented an assassination attempt against him. Even though our Sages state that Havrona acted not out of love for Mordechai and the Jewish people, but out of hatred for Haman, this seemingly-inconsequential character of the saga occupies a lofty place in our national memory. If so, Trump also deserves to be recognized for his just and historic decisions without trying to decipher whether these were done out of personal motives.
3 Trump will also be remembered for recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights. His administration took this historic step after 38 years of consecutive US governments refusing to accept the fact of the Golan rightfully belonging to Israel. American presidents spent years trying to force Israel into turning over the strategic plateau to the murderous Assad regime, which would have entailed destroying dozens of Israeli communities and displacing some-20,000 local residents. Trump's recognition of the Golan as Israeli territory has not completely removed this threat, but it certainly strengthens our grip over the beautiful northeastern region of our country.
At the international level, too, the Trump administration had Israel's back. Unlike previous administrations and especially the Obama regime, the President never floated the threat of abandoning us to the hypocritical attacks of Security Council. The United States' assured veto has thwarted anti-Israel initiatives of the kind that have been used against us in the past. Trump's administration never hesitated to point out the UN's hypocrisy, expressing their dissatisfaction with UN institutions and the International Court of Justice not only in words, but also deeds. When it came to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Trump refused to fill the role of the "objective mediator," realizing that Israel was trying to take a flexible approach while the PA never ran out of demands. He wasn't moved by the appalling humiliations suffered at the hands of Muhammad Abbas and his constituents.
4. More than anything, Trump will be well remembered for his full support in the face of the Iranian threat. In signing the nuclear agreement with the Ayatollahs, Barack Obama and his disconnected administration placed the security of the State of Israel and its citizens in harm's way. Trump did away with the agreement just as promised. Even with an absence of widespread international support, he has imposed painful sanctions on Iran's economy, shaking the ground under the feet of its radical, expansionist regime.
Trump worked diligently to usher in a new anti-Iranian Middle East axis, solidifying cooperation between Israel and a number of Gulf states who find themselves at the whim of Iran's imperialist dreams. The culmination of this process came with the signing of peace agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan with strong backing from the Trump administration. We can only hope that US election results do not interrupt the ongoing process, intended to continue in the face of other Arab policies, including Saudi Arabia, which has already allowed Israeli flights over its airspace.
These peace agreements were against the wishes of the PA and to the displeasure of the Israeli "peace camp", which has for decades preached that peace cannot be achieved with the Arab world until the "Palestinian issue" is resolved. Needless to say, this collaboration is largely the result of Trump's personal relationship with Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu's knowledge, intelligence and experience in the international arena made it easier for Trump to accept Israel's positions, and cooperate with him on numerous issues.
5. Trump's "Deal of the Century" for the future of Judea and Samaria did not materialize, and supporters of Jewish settlement were divided between those who saw its advantages and those who felt its shortcomings overshadowed them. But everyone can agree that Trump's plan was a vast improvement on previous deals supported by American administrations. For the first time, a US administration announced that a political agreement between Israel and the Palestinians should not include the displacement of settlements. Unlike of previously-negotiated deals that would have seen Israel maintain miniscule parts of Judea and Samaria, the 'Deal of the Century' offered Israel the Jordan Valley and 10% of Judea and Samaria, altogether amounting to about 30% of territory east of the pre-'67 armistice line. That's not enough and doesn't get the job done from our perspective, but happens to be a lot more than what previous Israeli governments including Ehud Barak and Olmert were ready to concede.
6. It's true that the situation looks bleak at the moment. It's also true that there are plenty out there trying their best to make it look that way. But it's not over till it's over. So long as Trump has not given up and maintains hope in the legal process ahead, I will continue hoping for a miracle that turns the tide, and definitely not join those rejoicing at his demise and making fun of him. That's how the most pro-Israel US president should be treated.
According to the latest reports, Trump is considering another presidential campaign in 2024, so even if he's forced to concede this time around, we can still hold out hope he'll be back sooner or later. Either way, the Jewish people have always paid tribute to the few gentile leaders who've come to our defense. Donald J. Trump certainly has a special place set aside for him in the annals of Jewish history.
Emmanuel Shiloh is Editor of the Besheva Newspaper
For comments, email me at [email protected].