Just as the Sabbath was ending on Saturday night in Israel, US President Donald Trump made one more foray into Israeli politics from Washington, DC.
Trump said on Twitter that he had spoken to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “to discuss the possibility of moving forward” with a defense pact between the two countries.
Judging by his Twitter response, Netanyahu was giddy with excitement. He thanked Trump and said Israel had never had a better friend in the White House.
Never mind that Trump’s tweet was hedged with cautious wording. There was no announcement of a defense pact. They would discuss the possibility of a pact. There was no promise of action, merely a suggestion that it was something to talk about.
And never mind that some of Israel’s security experts have examined — and rejected — the idea of a mutual defense pact.
Amos Yadlin, the director of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, said the statement was “clearly about election propaganda.”
Yadlin, who piloted one of the planes that dropped bombs on Iraq’s nuclear facility in 1981 and later served as the head of the Israel Defense Force’s military intelligence unit, said a defense pact has benefits, but they are outweighed by the costs, limiting Israel’s freedom of action in instances when it feels it needs to defend itself.
Such a pact may also require Israel to fight in American wars that have little to do with Israel’s security, Yadlin said.