Analysis

Jerusalem Shouldn’t Celebrate Trump's Victory Too Long

White America has spoken, and now the rest of the world must suffer.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
Benjamin Netanyahu, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Drew Angerer| Jewel Samad / AFP / Illustration Haaretz

The prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem will open another bottle of their favorite Brut champagne from the Zichron Yaakov winery on Wednesday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have opted against betting on Donald Trump – after all, at the height of the presidential campaign season, he backed down and agreed to the multiyear military aid agreement with the United States without waiting for the identity of the next president to be revealed.

But Netanyahu’s prayer, whether on a note left in the Western Wall or as an electronic copy of Vladimir Putin’s wishes, was heard. It will not be a Democratic administration in Washington. The Republican Party, Netanyahu’s favorite, has not just maintained its strength but increased it.

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Yet these are just the celebrations of a poor man, because 2.5 months still remain until Trump’s inauguration and Netanyahu’s local troubles are likely to mushroom: The evacuation of the illegal outpost at Amona; the upcoming vote on the state budget; the public broadcasting corporation; the suspicions against the Netanyahus in various affairs – any of these could force Netanyahu to resign, pushing forward the next Knesset election if Likud and its governing coalition partners so desire.

Netanyahu would have a diplomatic justification, too: The next U.S. administration will be forced to wait until a new Israeli government is formed. Netanyahu’s Israel could win some time, even though it will pay almost zero interest.

And the Palestinians, what will they do in the meantime? Will they believe that, starting in January, seven decades of U.S. policy will be reversed and Jerusalem will be recognized as the capital of Israel, with the U.S. embassy being moved there from Tel Aviv?

Will they wait for the official election results once all the ballots and Electoral College votes are counted, or will they start violent riots – the Trump intifada? Will they storm U.S. embassies and consulates all over the Middle East? The Jerusalem District police commander, Maj. Gen. Yoram Halevy, will be forced to put his officers on alert, likewise the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service.

Of course, this will not concern Trump supporters and their defiant vote – as if you can run a superpower through protest. They do not care that the crude, rude Trump has grabbed America by the, well, you know what. Like him, they too have given the finger to the politicians, from both parties.

Trump spoke to these supporters directly, over the heads of the Republicans who renounced him, and the victory is his alone: he achieved it despite the party and because of it.

In comparison, Hillary Clinton achieved what she did despite her limitations, because of Barack Obama and Gary Johnson, the third party Libertarian candidate whose voters were much closer to Trump’s positions. Her being part of a political dynasty worked against her, as it did Jeb Bush – the grandson of Sen. Prescott Bush, the son of President George H. W. and the brother of President George W. – in the Republican Party’s presidential primaries.

The conflict between village and city, between the little man (the farmer) and the trader-banker characterized America in its early years; the school of Thomas Jefferson (and, later, Andrew Jackson) against the approach of Alexander Hamilton.

On Tuesday, it became the rebellion of the white people, a counterrevolution in the face of the rise of the minorities. It is possible that this was enough to be elected, until the next population census. But when the celebrations end, Trump will need to govern. Woe to the wisdom of crowds if this is what it produces.

In his victory speech, which he used to demonstrate his knowledge of the names throughout all the generations of his family, Trump thanked all the armed people around him: The Secret Service agents and New York police officers. He ignored the FBI's role in stopping Clinton's momentum. In fact, he didn't completely ignore it, because he personally thanked the man who held the FBI portfolio in his campaign headquarters, Rudy Giuliani. If the reports of the former mayor of New York's desire to be appointed attorney general are true, then this make for an interesting point in his confirmation hearing from the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Giuliani was last the center of public attention on September 11, 2001. This morning too, during the dawn hours in New York when the final hopes of Clinton to become president were buried forever, many felt a shock of the same magnitude as 9/11; but this time 11/9.  November 9 this year may not have been as great a disaster as Kristallnacht and not even as fateful as the breaching of the Berlin Wall, on the same date, but it has shaken up the remnants of stability, equilibrium and the ability to trust the responsibility and abilities of the leadership of the most important nation in the world. 

The Americans, who take pride in their system based on excellence and talent without paying any attention to origin and status, have anointed a ruler who is an entrepreneur son of an entrepreneur with a dubious record of achievements and a long trail of bitter complaints of those harmed by his businesses. When they quickly become disappointed in him, because he does not have the power to carry out his excessive promises, they will rise up against him.

Americans have real faith in what David Ben-Gurion called, in the Israeli context, “uniqueness and exceptionalism.” They are convinced that their chosen nation, the pearl of humanity, is too big to fail, too powerful to fall. So for them it does not matter who the dogcatcher or mayor is, or if the president is a catcatcher. God was commanded to bless America. Happy is the believer, because bad times are a-coming.