If America’s President Elect, Donald Trump, follows up on his promises towards Israel by allowing the construction of houses in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem, we might see dramatic changes in a variety of Israel’s internal affairs.
One of the strongest topics in Israel’s politics is the issue of housing and the cost of living. The last four times Israel held elections, this particular topic was front and center. Today, a young couple, who is not getting financial help from their parents, can forget about buying an apartment in the Tel Aviv/Jerusalem area.
The prices in the last 15 years have gone up significantly. It’s impossible to find a three-bedroom apartment in the northern part of Tel Aviv that costs less than $750,000. Our past two finance ministers promises to all builders to build without the typical red-tape, thus help the supply catch up to the demand. But not much has changed.
The prices are not going down. In fact, they are going up, rising more than ten percent from one election to the next. Israelis feel paralyzed as they view the prices going higher and higher. Nearly everywhere in Israel you can see people who are building more and more houses, but we still can’t keep up with the high birth rate and the new immigrants arriving each and every year.
Judea and Samaria—the West Bank
However, there’s one place in Israel where no one is building any houses. In fact, there’s been a freezing of any construction plan in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem for over eight years now. This is the same construction freezing that the outgoing U.S. president, Barack Obama, firmly demanded and constantly sent the Secretary of State, John Carey or Hillary Clinton, to confirm that Israel was indeed following up on this.
There were many ridiculous situations where John Carey caused political crises between Netanyahu and the White House over the expanding of settlements, building a school, or a kindergarten in Israel. It seemed it was easier and more important for President Obama to confront Israel over building a synagogue in Hebron than to deal with genocide in Syria, the Hamas threat against Israel, or the expansion of ISIS.
I believe that the minute Israel is free to build new cities in the land of the Bible (Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem) and to expand the settlement in our forefather’s city, Hebron, acting as a sovereign nation, without worry about the international pressure, then blessing will come to all the other parts of Israel. In my opinion, the goal of the government of Israel should be to reach 1,500,000 settlers in five years. That’s the way to pop the real estate bubble which is so difficult for us to bear.
New Attitude in US towards Israel
Israelis have high expectations from the new Trump administration. The main reason for this is not only the promises towards Israel that were made during the election campaign, but something deeper. If the President-elect would follow up on his main campaign promise and focus on America’s internal affairs, it would allow those who are close to him to change America’s attitude towards Israel, which has grown negative over the past eight years.
Vice President Elect, Mike Pence, is a big friend of Israel. He is the clear representative of the evangelical Christians in the U.S. He is also a supporter of the settlements in Judea and Samaria and made an amazingly positive video about Israel just before the election.
In addition to Pence, the closest people to Donald Trump are Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee. All of them believe in Israel’s right to inhabit its own country. When visiting Israel, they always make sure to visit Judea and Samaria and donate to the Zionist settlement fund.
The Jewish Influence on Trump
Even more close to Donald Trump is his own lawyer, David Friedman. Mr. Friedman was also Donald Trump’s consultant of Israel’s affairs during his campaign. He is an Orthodox Jew who believes in the complete state of Israel. He’s also on the list of possible candidates for the United States Ambassadorship to Israel.
And let’s not forget Jared Kushner, the Orthodox Jewish and pro-Israel husband of Ivanka (Yael, her Jewish name). Trump’s son-in-law had a lot of influence in the election campaign and its outcome. This is a couple who truly loves Israel.
That’s why I hope there will be a dramatic change in the way America treats the construction of settlements in the Biblical State of Israel; from a policy of pressuring Israel to freeze the construction to a policy of pressuring Israel to begin the construction.
Israel is already trained to not get its hopes up because of failed promises made by former presidents. Maybe this time, because of those who are very close to Donald Trump, we will see the first administration in the history of the US to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, and we will see the United States Embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
For me personally, it’s going to be difficult because I’ll have to drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to apply for a U.S. Visa. But you can trust that I’ll drive all the way there with a big smile on my face.
Editor’s note: Since Moti wrote this, already 1,400 new apartments have been approved for East Jerusalem (though the initial reports have already been denied). This is a direct result of the Trump victory, as Israeli officials are no longer concerned about U.S. backlash. For more reading see: http://roncan.net/2gsjON8
This article originally appeared on Tiferet Yeshua, November 28, 2016, and reposted with permission.