US Jews must urge Israelis to safeguard the Trump-Netanyahu relationship

US Jews must urge Israelis to safeguard the Trump-Netanyahu relationship


Israel needs the best leader possible at this critical moment, and no one has more experience than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

US President Donald Trump / (photo credit: REUTERS)

There are two adages that have been sacrosanct for decades when it comes to decisions about Israel’s future.

One is that such decisions must be made by Israel’s democratically elected government alone, and that American Jews who do not live in the Jewish state must keep their opinions about internal Israeli politics to themselves.

The other is that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

It may be controversial to say this, but at this fateful juncture for Israel’s future, both of those adages that have withstood the test of time do not currently apply.

As someone who has advocated for Israel for decades and prayed for the Jewish state three times a day since its establishment, I cannot be silent, and neither should other Jewish leaders who understand the importance of the present moment in history.

I was privileged to be present in the White House when US President Donald Trump unveiled his Middle East peace plan, which is appropriately called both “Peace to Prosperity” and “The Deal of the Century.” Hearing the details of the plan first-hand, I was extremely impressed by the hard work and in-depth research that went into it.

This plan would safeguard Israel’s future and ensure its existence amid the security threats to the Jewish state that will never end. Maintaining Israeli security – which was a challenge in previous plans proposed by previous American administrations – would no longer be an issue, because the IDF would maintain security control and protect both Israel and the entrances to where the Palestinians would continue to live.

As soon as the plan’s maps are ready, the plan allows Israel to immediately start applying Israeli law to the lands where the Jews of Judea and Samaria live now and where our forefathers and mothers lived before.

There are Palestinian and European leaders and Democratic Party presidential candidates in the US who have criticized the plan, as was expected. It is not their opposition that could prevent the plan from getting carried out.

Amazingly, the plan is in danger of being held up and perhaps never even being implemented at all not because of any of them, but because of the voters in Israel’s upcoming fateful election on March 2.

Israelis must be told that this plan must be implemented immediately to ensure Israel’s long-term future, and it needs an experienced leader who has built a fruitful relationship with Trump. This is not the time for a dangerous change in Israeli leadership.

Israel needs the best leader possible at this critical moment, and no one has more experience than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. After President Trump’s peace deal is implemented, there will be less need to have a monumental prime minister like him in place, and it will then be safer to take risks of electing a new leader.

This is not the time to initiate unnecessary negotiations with the Palestinians or wait for the support of the international community that would never come. This is the time to draw the maps of Israel’s borders and start implementing the plan the moment the maps are ready, regardless of Israeli politics.

Waiting for a government to be formed in Israel to implement the plan would be a huge mistake, because there could be a fourth or even a fifth Israeli election. President Trump waited patiently during the first two Israeli elections, but there is no guarantee that he will win a second term in office, so there is no time to waste.

The Netanyahu-Trump era must be maximized to the fullest, because we don’t know who the next prime minister will be, who the next US president will be, or what will be the makeup of the next Congress. Listening to how uneducated some of the Democratic presidential candidates are on Israel reinforces the urgency of the moment at hand.

Religious Zionists in America have a particular responsibility to ensure that the plan gets implemented, because it would not have happened without us.

Religious Zionists have thankfully overcome – or at least balanced out – the left wing who can return to positions of influence in the future, both in the US and in Israel when Netanyahu is no longer in power. While religious Zionists will always be the backbone among Israel’s supporters in the US, it is questionable whether self-proclaimed progressive American Jews and their children can be counted on to support Israel two decades from now.

The plan is currently bilateral between the US and Israel, though American leaders have said they hope that the Palestinians will join it in the future. That gives Americans and Israelis equal footing in ensuring that it gets shepherded toward implementation as soon as possible.

Not only can American Jewish leaders speak, we have an obligation to make our voices heard by Israelis as they go to vote. We must tell Israelis that waiting too long could result in Israel missing the ultimate opportunity – the opportunity of the century.

Missing this opportunity would be a tragedy that would be added to the long list of too many tragedies the Jewish people have endured throughout our history.

The writer is copresident of the Religious Zionists of America, chairman of the Center for Righteousness and Integrity, and a committee member of the Jewish Agency.

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