By David Saffer
Israelis are anxiously awaiting the result of the US Presidential election which is on a knife-edge and could be heading to the Supreme Court.
Democrat nominee Joe Biden heads US President Donald Trump 240-213 in the electoral college vote (at the time of going to press). Both are aiming to reach 270 votes. Results in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin will determine the victor in an acrimonious race to the White House.
Most Israelis back Trump due to his notable moves during his term in office including the historic US Embassy move to Jerusalem and recent accords with Bahrain, the UAE and Sudan.
A recent survey had 83% of orthodox Jews voting for Trump with only 13% favouring Biden. And their viewpoint was illustrated in an interview with Arab American News last weekend after Democrat vice president candidate Kamala Harris reportedly confirmed a Biden administration would reverse Trump policies on Palestine and Middle East including restoring aid to Palestinians that Trump axed due to it being used for terror purposes.
“We are committed to a two-state solution, and we will oppose any (Israeli) unilateral steps that undermine that goal,” she said. “We will also oppose annexation and settlement expansion.”
Harris backed a reversal of Trump’s moves to reopen the US consulate in East Jerusalem and reopening of a PLO office in Washington closed in 2018 as Trump’s deal of the century peace plan was coming together.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Trump’s Middle east policy prior to the vote but ‘politically’ avoided noting a preference for the election. However, Israel’s leader did tell reporters that US support was “one of the foundations of the American-Israeli alliance and had “never been stronger”.
Netanyahu noted the US perspective on Iran, the Golan Heights, recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and recent US-backed Arab accords.
“I can only hope that this policy will continue in the coming years,” he said.
Whilst most Israelis back Trump, US polls indicate American Jews back Biden, who has more routes to triumph. Trump’s path is tight as he needs to win at four of the remaining battleground states.
Biden leads in Wisconsin, Trump heads the others but millions of votes are yet to counted in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. A result may be forthcoming by Friday.
Trump craves a second term in office and declared victory in the early hours of Wednesday whilst accusing the Democrats of electoral fraud whilst Biden moderated his comments.
“A very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise that group of people (who voted), and we won’t stand for it. We will not stand for it,” Trump said.
He added, “This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. So our goal now is to ensure the integrity. We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning and add them to the list, OK?.
“We will win this, and as far as I’m concerned, we already have.”
Trump tweeted before his speech, “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!”
Biden noted, “It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to call who wins this election, that’s the decision of the American people.”
Many pundits and polls prior to Tuesday had Biden holding up to a 10-point lead. A comfortable Biden win was predicted or narrow Trump triumph though battleground states were key.
Results so far illustrate that Trump has defied the pollsters, as he did in 2016 when he defeated Hilary Clinton. The final chapter has yet to be written.