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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 30th December 2016 > THE ORANGE MESSIAH


Will Donald Trump be good for Isreal? Or will he empower the radical fringe, setting the nation on a path to fresh conflict?

FOR TWO DAYS and two nights in December, the Israelis and their American friends in Washington, D.C., convened among the carolers and Christmas trees at a luxury hotel near the White House. It was supposed to be Haim Saban’s political bar mitzvah, the ultimate celebration of his president-making powers. In 2016, the billionaire emerged as the most influential Israel donor to Hillary Clinton, and most of the Israeli-American policy world turned out for his 13th annual Saban Forum: think tank policy wonks, ribbon-decked retired generals and diplomats who had sweated over the intractable peace process. Knesset members on the right and left flew in from Tel Aviv, along with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a hard-liner sometimes described as a potential challenger to Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, who beamed in by satellite.

But instead of toasting Saban’s candidate or getting their pictures taken with the president-elect, the participants could only guess at what Donald Trump—who wasn’t invited—might do in the Holy Land.

The Queens, New York-born real estate mogul will be inaugurated at what is now a pivotal moment in Israel, when the American-backed idea of a two-state solution—that is, dividing land between the Israelis and Palestinians—is closer to being cast into Gehenna, the biblical word for hell, than ever before. As Lieberman put it: “There is no peace! into his presidency, when Obama gave what was billed as a historic speech to the Arab world in Cairo, becoming one of the few U.S. presidents to publicly tell Israel to stop building settlements on what America—and most of the world—views as Palestinian land. Netanyahu responded with a massive lump of coal: He green-lit new settlements. To emphasize the point, Israel’s Ministry of the Interior timed the announcement of 1,600 new housing units on occupied land to coincide with a visit by Vice President Joe Biden. There is no process!”

No one in the room pretended to know what lies ahead, but one concern vexed them all: Will Trump be bad for Israel? Or, as some Israelis hope, will he be the country’s Santa Claus?

AMERICAN SANTA: Despite forking over a massive amount of defense money, President Barack Obama has had a frosty relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

A Massive Lump of Coal

THE FIRST THING to understand about what Trump’s getting into is that Israel already had a Santa Claus: President Barack Obama. But he didn’t get a lot of milk and cookies in Jerusalem. Despite forking over considerable amounts of American defense money, he and Netanyahu have had a famously frosty relationship.

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Henry Orenstein fought adversity throughout his life, however, he saw the potential in a Toy that others didn't. Not only did Transform from vehicle to robot, they also transformed Henry's life. Read inside the full story, there is more than meets the eye...