Former New York City Mayor Rudolf Giuliani believes Israel would prefer to see Donald Trump elected as president, The Washington Post reports on Wednesday.
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"I’ve talked to the members of the Israeli government at the highest levels. I know who they want elected here. It’s not Hillary Clinton. It’s not Obama 3,” Giuliani told The Post's Josh Rogin in an interview at the Republican National Convention earlier this month.
Israel formally maintains neutrality when its largest ally holds elections, though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu famously met with Mitt Romney during his campaign to unseat Obama in 2012.
Giuliani met with Netanyahu and other Israeli officials during a visit to Israel in March.
The newspaper quotes an unnamed person close to Giuliani as saying that Netanyahu had told the ex-mayor that he favored a Republican administration over the Democrats.
Netanyahu also gave Giuliani a message with advice for how Trump ought to treat Israel-related issues in his campaign, the newspaper says, citing the same person, adding that Giuliani had handed over the message to Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, when he met them after his trip. Giuliani declined to confirm or deny this to the Post.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office denied that Netanyahu had voiced any preferences in the U.S. election or had asked Giuliani to convey any messages to Trump.
Giuliani says Israeli officials worry Clinton may push to restart frozen peace talks with the Palestinians were she to be elected as president, as Barack Obama has done while in office.
"They are politically aware enough to know that if Hillary gets elected, she is going to go further to her left, to protect her left flank against Elizabeth Warren,” Giuliani said, according to the Post.
“They know she’s going to start the two-state solution thing again, cave in to the Palestinians. They realize Donald Trump can say Islamic terrorism, can stand up to it. So there’s no question he would be better for the state of Israel than Hillary."