Facing terror spike, specter of nuclear Iran, many Israelis feel nation was safer in Trump years
"Joe Biden, go home," one Israeli said. "In Israel, we like Trump."
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
Amid a recent spike in terror attacks and the looming possibility of a nuclear Iran, many people in Israel say they feel secure — but they told Just the News they still felt safer with former President Donald Trump in the White House rather than President Joe Biden.
More than a dozen Israelis have been killed in a wave of terrorist attacks from March 22 to April 7, the most recent of which targeted a bar in Tel Aviv.
Jewish Israelis said that despite the tensions, they are unafraid.
Meir, who runs a falafel restaurant in the Shuk, the main market in Jerusalem, told Just the News, "Israel is very safe."
When asked whether he felt safe under President Joe Biden, however, he said: "We don't like Joe Biden. We like Trump. Joe Biden, go home. In Israel, we like Trump."
Jonathan, who had just arrived in Israel days before speaking to Just the News emphatically concurs. "Trump, we want to tell you thank you very much for bringing America up," he said. "We can't wait for you to get back into office."
Their sentiments are widely shared among Israelis.
Just 10.9% of Israelis — 9.9% of Jews and 16.7% of Arabs — said they feel that the Biden administration is better for Israel than the Trump administration, according to the 2021 Israeli Foreign Policy Index survey for the Mitvim Institute, conducted in September.
Nearly 53% of respondents — 58.2% of Jews and 22.6% of Arabs — said that Biden is worse for Israel than Trump.
In May 2021, Hamas launched thousands of rockets from Gaza targeting Israeli civilians, setting off another round of hostilities. Many Israelis are bracing for more violence this summer, and the heightened tensions are being felt in the Palestinian community.
At Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, arrests have occurred nearly nightly as Muslims gather there after breaking the Ramadan fast. The protests increased in intensity after Israel's foreign minister toured the gate last week and as rumors circulate that some ultrareligious Jews will attempt to carry out the Passover sacrifice on the Temple Mount, the location of Al Aqsa mosque.
One Palestinian told Just the News that it was safer away from the Israeli police officers and soldiers who were surrounding the area.
After a small fight broke out among teenagers by the gate, another Palestinian said that the problem is not infighting, but caused by the Jews.
A Just the News reporter had a small rock thrown at her head as she interviewed protesters there.
Mohammad, 17, spoke to Just the News at Damascus Gate and said that he prefers President Joe Biden over former President Donald Trump.
"Joe Biden loves Palestinians," he said. "I don't love Trump. He's a bad man."
He went on to invite Americans to visit Palestine. "It's very good to Muslims, to Christianity, to Jewish — I think all the people in the world would love to visit Palestine," he said.
Ariel, who had a table in the Shuk to encourage Jews to do good deeds before the sabbath, said he feels "very safe."
"We have to do everything we can to kill the terrorist," he said.
Ariel took a very hardline stance against Islam as well.
"In their horrible logic, Ramadan is their favorite [time] to kill Jews and other non-Muslims," he said. "Whenever you see a Muslim, be careful, he might carry a gun or a weapon," he warned, before quickly adding that "not everybody" is dangerous and that he has Muslim friends.
Ariel then criticized the Biden administration's talks with Iran and called the possible nuclear agreement "horrible."
Ateret Shmuel spoke to Just the News after returning to Israel following three years in the United States for her work with Indigenous Bridges, a group that connects Jews with native communities.
When asked whether she felt safe in Israel, Shmuel replied, "Much safer than I do anywhere else in the world."
She cited the increase in antisemitic incidents in the United States to explain why she does not feel secure in America.
"Without a doubt, I feel 1,000% safer here than I definitely did in the States or in Europe or anywhere," Shmuel said. "Here, at least we take care of each other ... We're all in it together ... Even in times of war and terrorism, there's still like a very strong sense of, like, togetherness and family even [between] Jews, Arabs, Muslims [and] Christians."
In response to the recent terror attacks, Israel has allocated more than $50 million to strengthen its police force. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Israeli law enforcement carried out more than 200 investigation or arrest operations last month.
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