Just two days after his stunning election victory, President-elect Donald Trump delivered a message to Israel, describing his personal affection for the Jewish state and hopes that his administration will be able to strengthen ties strained by eight years of tense relations between Israel and the Obama administration.
Calling Israel a “ray of hope,” Trump released the statement to the Israel HaYom newspaper, which is owned by prominent Jewish Republican donor, Sheldon Adelson. Adelson backed Trump in this year’s election towards the end of the race, giving tens of millions of dollars to the Trump campaign and pro-Trump political action committees.
“I love and respect Israel and its citizens,” wrote Trump. “Israel and the US share so many common values, like free speech, freedom of worship, and the special emphasis on creating opportunities for all citizens to fulfill their dreams.”
“I look forward to strengthening the unbreakable bond between our two great peoples. I know well that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and that it is the only one that defends human rights, and that it is a ray of hope for many people.”
Along with his praise for the Jewish state, Trump also touched upon the thorniest issue in the Israel-US relationship – the two-state solution.
The 2016 Republican platform removed all references to the two-state solution, and Trump refrained from outlining the parameters of a final status agreement, saying only that the US must limit itself to aiding the two sides to reach an agreement on their own – without coercion.
“I believe that my administration will be able to fill an important role in aiding the two sides to reach a just and lasting peace, one which must come through negotiations between the two sides themselves, and not through coercion by outside elements. Israel and the Jewish people deserve it.”