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    Netanyahu hails Donald Trump as a ‘true friend’ of Israel

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday congratulated Donald Trump on his election victory, saying the Republican is “a true friend of the State of Israel.”
    Netanyahu’s remarks were released a few hours after Trump proclaimed victory over his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, in a surprise electoral coup.
    “We will work together to advance security, stability and peace in our region,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
    “The bond between the US and Israel is based on shared values, shared interests and a shared future. I am sure that President-elect Trump and I will continue to strengthen the special alliance between Israel and the US and we will bring them to new heights,” he added.
    Later Wednesday, Netanyahu released a video congratulating Trump.
    The prime minister’s statement came on the heels of statements expressing a mix of optimism and wariness by Israeli politicians, many of whom joined Netanyahu in stressing the continued strengthening of the US-Israel ties.
    President Reuven Rivlin congratulated Trump on his victory, which he said demonstrated that the US is the “greatest democracy.”
    “There are many challenges that lie before you as president — at home and around the world. Israel, your greatest ally, stands by you as your friend and partner in turning those challenges into opportunities,” he said in a statement.
    Education Minister Naftali Bennett was among the first Israeli leaders to congratulate Trump Wednesday morning, saying the Republican’s victory was “an opportunity” to do away once and for all with the pursuit of a two-state solution.
    “Trump’s victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the center of the country, which would hurt our security and just cause,” Bennett said in a statement.
    “This is the position of the president-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple,” he said. “The era of a Palestinian state is over. We are sure the special relationship between the United States and Israel will continue, and even grow stronger.”
    Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said he promised “to safeguard and strengthen the special relationship and courageous friendship between the countries and work to strengthen the shared values of Israel and the United States.”
    Other right-wing politicians hailed Trump’s victory, saying they hoped it would translate into closer ties between Israel and the US. Opposition MKs, in contrast, voiced greater circumspection, with Joint (Arab) List MK Dov Khenin saying, “Trump won not on the merit of the racist minority but on the merit of the angry majority.”
    times.com

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