Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has enjoyed a cozy relationship with President Trump over the past four years. With a Biden victory in the US presidential election looking increasingly more likely, officials from Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party are fearful a Biden win could hurt the prime minister.
Likud officials spoke with Zman Yisrael about a potential Biden win in the US. “Now they will tell Netanyahu: Your friend is gone, against all odds, so you will go too,” an anonymous senior official said. “Now they will talk about how Netanyahu severed ties with the Democrats, what price we will all pay and how he — who knows America better than anyone — gambled on the wrong horse.”
An Israeli cabinet official said the US election could decide whether or not Israelis go to the polls again. Netanyahu and the Blue and White Party’s Benny Gantz, who now serves as defense minister, reached a power-sharing agreement after a series of elections gave neither politician a decisive victory. As per the agreement, Gantz will take over as prime minister in 2021.
Netanyahu and the Likud are hoping to hold another election before Gantz becomes prime minister. An Israeli official said a Trump victory “would have brought forward the election” in Israel. “Now Netanyahu will have much less desire to go to the polls in Israel,” the official said.
While the officials fear Biden could hurt Netanyahu and the Likud party, they do not think the former vice president would change US policy towards Israel all that much. A Likud lawmaker said Biden would not be swayed by progressive Democrats who have a more critical view of Israel.
“The Democratic Party has extreme and radical fringes, which even a left-wing government in Israel cannot get along with,” the lawmaker said. “Biden has a strong support base, and he is not one to be affected by them.”
President Trump has been extremely pro-Israel during his term. Biden is not expected to reverse any of Trump’s Israel policies and has said he would not move the US embassy out of Jerusalem. A Biden advisor recently told the Jewish News Syndicate that a Biden administration would also not reverse President Trump’s 2019 decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a territory Israel seized from Syria in 1967.