A Note to Political Observers: Israelis Are Not Americans

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A general view of the White House in Washington, U.S. July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

When I moved to Israel four years ago, I assumed I would have fewer conversations about the president of the United States. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I almost never initiate the conversations, and they are almost always with Americans who have an unfavorable view of President Trump. The discussions generally start with a question along the lines of, “How can Israelis like Trump? Don’t they see he’s such a …?” The questions are certainly normal, but their premise ignores a critical fact — Israelis are not Americans. Trying to understand Israeli views of any president by applying an American standard just doesn’t work.

Recently, inflammatory statements made by former President Trump in an interview with Israeli journalist Barak Ravid have made headlines. The statements…

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