Trump’s Call for Israel to ‘Finish Up’ War Alarms Some on the Right

Two Israeli journalists traveled to Palm Beach, Fla., a little over a week ago, hoping to elicit from Donald J. Trump a powerful expression of support for their country’s war in Gaza.

Instead, one of them wrote that what they heard from Mr. Trump at Mar-a-Lago “shocked us to the core.”

“Both U.S. presidential candidates, Biden and Trump, are turning their rhetorical backs on Israel,” concluded Ariel Kahana, a right-wing settler who is the senior diplomatic correspondent for Israel Hayom. The newspaper is owned by the billionaire Republican donor Miriam Adelson; Ms. Adelson herself arranged the interview with Mr. Trump, according to a person with direct knowledge of the planning.

What had Mr. Trump said that so alarmed Mr. Kahana?

He told the interviewers that Israel was losing public support for its Gaza assault, that the images of devastation were bad for Israel’s global image and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should end his war soon — statements that sounded far more like something President Biden might say than the kind of cheerleading Mr. Netanyahu has come to expect from Washington Republicans.

“You have to finish up your war,” Mr. Trump said. “You have to get it done. We have to get to peace. We can’t have this going on.”

That statement apparently troubled Mr. Kahana even more than Mr. Biden’s warnings to Israel. Mr. Biden has called for a six-week cease-fire in exchange for Hamas releasing Israeli hostages. In the interview excerpts released by Israel Hayom, Mr. Trump did not qualify his call for Israel to finish the war by insisting on the release of hostages.

Back to top button