Netanyahu Touts Strong Relationship with Trump Ahead of Election By Phillip Howard
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is touting his strong relations with Donald Trump going into the final two weeks before Israeli elections. Netanyahu is seeking to overcome reports of being indicted on corruption charges.
Polls are showing mixed results. A recent poll found likely voters narrowly preferring Netanyahu (41 percent) to remain Prime Minister over challenger Benny Gantz (39 percent), but this was within the margin of error, and prior to Gantz forming an alliance with Yair Lapid. The two agreed to rotate as prime minister if their party alliance won a majority of seats (61 out of 120 in the Knesset) in the election. Subsequent polling has suggested this may be a game changer for Netanyahu who is his in “the fight of his political life.”
Netanyahu has accentuated strength between Israel and the U.S. President Trump has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and recently announced plans to recognize Israel’s claim over the Golan Heights, a contentious matter since the 1967 Six-Day War. This has been described as the “March surprise” and “the election gift Netanyahu dreamed of.” Netanyahu called the move a “miracle” and claimed this was “of equal historic importance” to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital.
Trump hosted Netanyahu in the U.S. early this week, which some view as an attempt to bolster Netanyahu’s chances of winning re-election. The meeting was the sixth bilateral meeting between both leaders since Trump took office. Netanyahu highlighted continued cooperation between Israel and the U.S. in their “joint struggle against Iranian aggression.”
The Israeli election is scheduled for April 9.
Phillip Howard is a graduate student at Utica College