As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struggles to form a coalition government, his friend from across the Atlantic, President Donald Trump, has thrown his support with no scruples about meddling in Israeli politics.
“Hoping things will work out with Israel’s coalition formation and Bibi and I can continue to make the alliance between America and Israel stronger than ever,” Trump tweeted on Monday. “A lot more to do!”
Israel moved towards a new election on Monday, after parliament gave preliminary approval to a dissolution motion. Netanyahu’s efforts to form a coalition have thus far been hamstrung by divisions between his Likud party and a clutch of right-wing and orthodox Jewish parties who lent him their support in last month’s elections.
Such a motion would likely come after Wednesday, when Netanyahu’s deadline to announce a governing coalition expires.
Some Israeli media and politicians criticized the move as interference in the country’s domestic affairs. “Trump’s move is unprecedented because it is an intervention in coalition negotiations in a different country in order to help one the political players, and more so because it is done publicly,” tweeted Barak Ravid, senior correspondent with Channel 13.
BREAKING: A senior official in Israel’s main opposition party “Blue & White” tells me: “We are shocked by President Trump’s intervention in Israeli domestic politics” https://t.co/G8R97tFN8s
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) May 27, 2019
Under Trump and Netanyahu, the US and Israel have solidified their already cosy alliance. Trump granted several high-profile wishes of his Israeli counterpart, including moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights region.
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