Israeli Media Welcomes Trump With English Headlines and Editorials

'Welcome Mr. President', Maariv and Israel Hayom blazoned on their front pages; editorials pleaded with America not 'to forsake old friends'

Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz

Israel’s largest-circulating Hebrew-language newspapers reached out directly to U.S. President Donald Trump in their Monday editions, prominently adding English greetings to their Hebrew-language headlines and editorials.

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“Welcome Mr. President,” wrote Israel Hayom, a freebie tabloid owned by Republican casino magnate and Trump supporter Sheldon Adelson, in its top headline, skipping the comma. The paper's front page featured a photo of Trump against the background of the American and Israeli flags, and a banner describing his visit to Israel, starting Monday, as “historic.”

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Most of the front page of Israel Hayom, Israel’s most widely circulated newspaper and considered a mouthpiece for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was devoted to a personal greeting to Trump from the newspaper’s newly installed editor Boaz Bismuth, writing in English.

The Israel Hayom front page, May 22, 2017Credit: Ruth Schuster

“'I love the people of Israel,’ you told me in the Oval Office,” wrote Bismuth. “I know you were speaking from the heart rather than trying to curry favor with me. I know you are sincere when you say you are committed to the security and future of Israel. You believe the United States and Israel are allies that share common values, and that America must not forsake old friends.”

Thanking Trump for his “genuine desire” to make peace in the region, Bismuth then warned, “You must know that the last thing we need is another failed peace process. We are tired of futile diplomacy that has only led to more bloodshed, which made us adopt a more sober view regarding the prospects of successful negotiations. We desire peace, not a process.”

However, Bismuth urged the president to steer clear of any peace deal that would divide Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians: “Mr. President, your visit to Israel comes just before a festive occasion: the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem by the Israel Defense Forces. Jerusalem is Zion. There is not Zionism without Zion.”

A longer, Hebrew-language version of this editorial was published inside the newspaper.

Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s second most widely circulated newspaper, ran the word “Welcome” in giant font across its front page, which was taken up entirely by a large photo of a smiling Trump standing beside his wife Melania. The opening paragraphs of an editorial written by veteran columnist Eitan Haber – in Hebrew, with an English translation beneath it – appeared on a box within the photo.

“Welcome, Mr. Donald Trump, the forty-fifth president of the United States of America. No, we have no golden castles with which to welcome you, like those you visited in Saudi Arabia," Haber wrote. "We have no colorful parade of camels with which to honor you. We have nothing to offer you, except what we have here: the values of human rights, democratic laws, and a Western observation post in the Middle East.”

Israel cannot compete with Saudi Arabia on most fronts, noted Haber, “But the important thing to know, as the presidential aircraft’s wheels touch the ground, is that in time of need we know how to stand in the front lines – and win. On that point, you can depend on us.”

'Don't make us any smaller'

Ma’ariv, Israel’s other big tabloid, also ran a greeting to Trump as its headline. “Welcome Mr. President,” it blazoned in English and Hebrew on its front page, which also featured a picture of Trump superimposed on an old photo of a red carpet arrival ceremony at Israel’s international airport.

In an op-ed inside the newspaper, veteran right-wing columnist Meir Ouziel issued a plea to the U.S. president. “Good afternoon, president of the United States,” he wrote. “What you see around when you land here today is a little country named Israel. Too little. From the air, before you landed, you also saw territories that some want to take from us. Please, do not make us any smaller.”

The banner headline in The Jerusalem Post, Israel’s oldest English-language newspaper, read: “Trump arrives amid great expectations.” In its editorial, the right-wing broadsheet also warned the president against considering a deal that would re-divide Jerusalem. “Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish state, is united as it has never been before in human history,” it said. “This fact is obvious to anyone with the integrity to acknowledge it.

“Is everything perfect? Of course not. Law enforcement, municipal services, the number of classroom in relation to students and other parameters are not equal in Jerusalem’s Jewish and Arab neighborhoods. But judging from the situation in other countries in the region, where the regular flow of clean water and electricity is the exception, equality is greater in Israel’s capital and the chances for further improvement are better in a unified Jerusalem than in a split Jerusalem,” the Post wrote.

The editorial ended with a plea that Trump make good on his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That, it said, “would be a reflection not only of his own admiration for Israel but also of the reality on the ground and in the streets and neighborhoods of the capital.”

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