Many were waiting for President Trump’s trip to Israel to decide whether Mr. Trump’s pledges of friendship and support for Israel were as real today as what had been enunciated during his presidential campaign. Some had suggested that Mr. Trump had been “deep-stated” by those within the establishment who were ambivalent regarding the important alliance between our country and Israel.
The results are in.
During the last three days, Mr. Trump has made trailblazing and unprecedented gestures before the entire world demonstrating an unequivocal bond and affection for the Jewish people and for the Jewish State.
In his visit to Saudi Arabia, while addressing the assemblage of those representing most of the Arab world, Mr. Trump declared words that previous leaders may have believed but were afraid, unwilling, or hesitant to utter. The President adamantly spoke to them about a State of Israel, a state that he admires, and went further in affirming Israeli sovereignty by speaking of its prime minister, mentioning his name, Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel was no longer allowed to be the elephant in the Islamic room, but something that for the first time in their midst was mentioned as a reality, a sovereign nation, and an entity with which America is proud to be in association.
He mentioned in his public speech to them that from Saudi Arabia, he was traveling directly to Israel. Direct travel to Israel was something that heretofore was not permitted by the Saudis, and it constituted a challenge from Mr. Trump to them, namely, that Israel must be for them a connection, a destination. This took great courage; but more so it demonstrated that for Mr. Trump Israel is a country with which he is proud to be associated with, and its recognition as a Jewish state is an incontrovertible basis for Arabic and Muslim participation in the goals of his administration and the contours of global reality.
Upon President Trump’s arrival in Israel, one was moved by the unquestionable warmth, something personal, between himself and Mr. Netanyahu and between their wives, Melania and Sara. There appears to be real friendship and affection, born of his regard for Israel as a land rooted in a righteous and sacred destiny. It is rooted in Mr. Trump's respect for those nations willing to stand up and stand out in the fight against the scourge of Islamic terrorism. Respect and affection, mind and heart.
Mr. Trump was the first acting president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem, treating it not as simply an historic museum piece but with an immediate reverence and sacredness. It is obvious he believes in the Israeli narrative. He speaks of defending the Jewish people and the Jewish State, equating them within a singular destiny. Everything in his trip to Israel resonated and evinced respect, regard, and affection.
On his White House website, he spoke of visiting Jerusalem, Israel. Until now, American administrations have spoken of Jerusalem in a way detached from the State of Israel. Indeed, the Obama administration, under the leadership of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, pleaded with the Supreme Court not to identify on passports Jerusalem with the country of Israel. This week, Mr. Trump dissented: No more; Jerusalem is, for Mr. Trump's America, part of Israel. In his remarks he spoke of Jerusalem’s eternal association with the Jewish people. He went further and personalized his defense of the Jewish people and Israel by declaring that “never again” would the Jewish People or the State of Israel fear for the future; never, as long as there is a Donald J. Trump.
In the few days, and with bold and dramatic gestures, Mr. Trump upended the last eight years of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who spent most of their time harassing Israel, bashing its prime minister, promoting the Palestinian Arabs as a cause and "narrative" that always seemed more important than the lives of Israelis. Yes, Israeli children were being killed, but … .
Whereas Obama and Clinton seemed to wish to distance themselves and seemed embarrassed in association with Israel, Mr. Trump made it clear that as an American he and our nation feel closer to the ideals and perseverance of Israel than almost any other nation in the world. Mr. Trump didn’t merely recite pretty words, but conveyed sincerity and an affinity with Israel and the Jewish people that we have never before seen by any president.
I have felt that Mr. Trump at this moment in our history is the best leader we have to lead our country forward and to right the wrongs of the past eight years. Second to that, as a Jew, and as someone who is in Israel’s corner, there is no question that Mr. Trump is an extraordinary gift. Jews who care about the protection of Jewish children, which is of great concern to Mr. Trump, and the survival of Israel, should do everything in their power to support this extraordinary friend.
Those Jews who have spent the last eight months, and even today, trying to bring down this great friend of the Jewish people and Israel are demonstrating that Israel, the protection of Jewish children, and the needs of the Jewish people are not priorities to them, rather a distant third or fourth in importance. Their priority and obsession number one have evolved over the years to leftwing politics and faddish political correctness and mores: identification with political leftism. They have sold their soul to the devil of leftism and have redefined Jewishness in a manner that none of their forefathers ever could have envisioned ... nor would they have understood or respected.
Rabbi Aryeh Spero is spokesman for the National Conference of Jewish Affairs and is author of “Push Back: Reclaiming our American Judeo-Christian Spirit.”