trump jerusalem Ronen Zvulun/AFP/Getty Images

Trump in Jerusalem

When US President Donald Trump left Israel after his whirlwind 28-hour tour without destabilizing the regional status quo, much of the country breathed a sigh of relief. But he also did little to indicate what Israel can expect from his administration.

JERUSALEM – When US President Donald Trump left Israel after his whirlwind 28-hour tour, much of the country breathed a sigh of relief. Trump had not, as many had feared, issued unsubstantiated statements or destabilized further the brittle regional status quo. He didn’t even tweet. But, for Israel’s leaders, simply avoiding disaster isn’t enough; they want the US president working for their interests.

Not long ago, that outcome seemed likely. During his campaign, Trump looked like a dream come true for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government. He promised to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem “on day one,” and to withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran that had been spearheaded by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Moreover, when Obama, as one of his last acts in office, refused to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, Trump railed against him. For Israel’s government, which had been embroiled in bitter controversies with the Obama administration for eight years, the Trump administration appeared to represent, in Netanyahu’s own words, “a new dawn.”

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