WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump referred publicly for the first time in two months to the ongoing political deadlock in Israel on Tuesday, asking, “What kind of a system is it there? They’re all fighting and fighting each other.
“They keep having elections and nobody gets elected,” said Trump.
Speaking at an event for political supporters from the ultra-Orthodox community in New York as part of his reelection campaign, Trump also described Tuesday’s flare-up of violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip as “crazy.”
Regarding the fighting in Israel and Gaza, which began Tuesday morning when Israel killed a senior commander in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group and close to 200 rockets were launched from Gaza into Israel, Trump said: “It’s crazy, missiles are flying and Israel is shooting back.”
Trump also joked that he has a “98 percent approval rating in Israel,” and that “if anything happens here, I’m taking a trip to Israel — I’ll be prime minister there.” Trump then made the comment about the Israeli electoral system, saying: “They’re all fighting and fighting each other. Here we have other kinds of fighting, but at least we know who the boss is.”
- Gaza Death Toll Rises to Eight as Egypt Pushes for Calm
- Targeted Killings: Israel's Greatest, Foolish Gift to Iran-backed Islamic Jihad
- Who Was Baha Abu al-Ata, Gaza's Elusive Islamic Jihad Commander Assassinated by Israel
Trump has previously expressed frustration with the electoral system in Israel and with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to build a governing coalition. In May, after Netanyahu failed to form a government, Trump said that Israelis should “get their act together.”
Vice President Mike Pence, meanwhile, condemned the rocket fire on Israel, tweeting: “The United States condemns the barrage of rockets on Israeli civilians. It’s clear Hamas & Palestinian Islamic Jihad put violence ahead of bettering the lives of the people of Gaza. America strongly affirms Israel’s right to defend itself.”