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Israel Must Prepare for the Day After the US Election
Left: Former US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt poses with President Donald Trump. Right: Former US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro is shown with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. (Jason D. Greenblatt Twitter account; US State Department)

Israel Must Prepare for the Day After the US Election

Maariv, Israel, September 10

The US elections are only 56 days away, and Israel already needs to plan how it will deal with the person sitting in the Oval Office – be it Donald Trump or Joe Biden. The candidates’ election campaigns have been ramped up in recent weeks in light of ongoing protests, on the one hand, and mounting COVID-19 cases, on the other. Polls currently show a 7% advantage for Biden, but this lead may very well disappear if violence and looting continue at the hands of protestors. So far, the two campaigns have devoted very little attention to foreign affairs, mostly because the average American voter doesn’t vote on the basis of such matters. However, Trump has been working hard to market his achievements vis-a-vis Israel – the embassy move, the recognition of the Golan Heights as Israel’s, and the peace deal with the United Arab Emirates – to his Evangelical base. It’s safe to say that things will change in the next presidential term, especially if Biden takes office. Biden is certainly a friend of Israel and the Democratic Party is broadly supportive of the Jewish state. However, there are within the party growing fringe voices of radical progressives who seek to demonize and vilify Israel. Therefore, Biden’s policy toward Israel will depend to a large degree on the identity of the advisers he surrounds himself with. The two most important issues the Israeli government must keep an eye out for are continued American military aid to Israel alongside continued support, even if tacit, for Israel’s nuclear policy. This includes preserving Israel’s military superiority in the region. These are assurances that Israel must request from the United States regardless of the identity of the next person sitting in the White House. They are central to Israel’s national security doctrine and crucial for its defense. – Zalman Shoval (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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