Has Netanyahu just come out in support of Donald Trump?

Published March 15th, 2016 - 01:15 GMT
The front page of Monday's Israel Hayom: “Giuliani says: ‘Trump isn’t afraid to say Islamic terror.’”
The front page of Monday's Israel Hayom: “Giuliani says: ‘Trump isn’t afraid to say Islamic terror.’”

Given his history of incitement against Muslims, it's hardly earth shattering news that “Trump Isn’t Afraid to Say Islamic Terrorism”.

But when Israel’s biggest newspaper chooses to splash the words on its front page, they become much more significant.

On Monday Israel Hayom, a daily paper widely considered to be a platform for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ran the quotation as a bold lead story. Taken from an interview with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who’s also a friend and adviser to Trump, it was followed by glowing praise of the Republican Presidential nominee.

Giuliani went on the call Trump an “intelligent man with strong opinions” while reserving harsh criticism for Hillary Clinton, whom he says “never succeeded in anything”.  

Pundits think the paper’s decision to highlight the words could imply that Netanyahu and his camp have come around to support Trump.

Israel Hayom is bankrolled by American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a right-wing supporter of Netanyahu and major donor to the Republican Party

It’s often called “Bibiton” - a combination of the popular nickname for Netanyahu and a Hebrew term for newspaper - thanks to its right-wing stance and fervent support for the Prime Minister. It’s current editor, Amos Regev, was hand-picked by Netanyahu. When an Israeli journalist tried to investigate whether Bibi was exerting editorial control over the paper last year, his attempts were effectively blocked.

If the splash does indeed imply Likud support - or at least grudging acceptance - for Trump, it’s big news. Last year, Trump cancelled a trip to Israel after Netanyahu condemned inflammatory comments he had made about Muslims.

 

Trump has previously said he’ll remain neutral on the subject of Israel and Palestine. He has made several anti-semitic remarks as well as publically inciting for violence and rights abuses against Muslims.

 


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