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With more than 90 percent of the vote counted in Israel, it appears that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition have again failed to gain a majority in Tuesday’s elections.

While it is still unclear who, if anyone, will be able to build a majority coalition in the 120-member Knesset, the result makes it clear that Israeli voters were not swayed by the interventions of the man who tweeted recently that he is “King of Israel” — Donald Trump.

Though as a 2016 candidate Trump vowed to be completely “neutral” in the Israel/Palestine conflict, he has since sought to position himself as a staunch ally of Israel.

Last month, Trump quoted a series of bizarre comments from far-right conspiracy theorist Wayne Allyn Root. According to the tweets, “the Jewish people in Israel love [Trump] like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God.” Root has previously described himself as “a Jew turned evangelical Christian.”

Trump has made no bones about his support for Netanyahu and his hope that Israel’s longest-serving prime minister would continue in the role unabated.

In April, Netanyahu’s Likud Party won 35 seats and the chance to form a government with smaller conservative parties. A delighted Trump gloated that people at Netanyahu’s “VICTORY celebration” had held a Trump flag and then congratulated the man he believed to have won.

As the coalition building hit a snag, Trump again announced his hope that “Bibi and I can continue to make the alliance between American and Israel stronger than ever.”

When Netanyahu and Likud failed to find enough partners to form a majority, he pushed through a plan new election for September. In a last-ditch effort to aid Netanyahu, Trump announced on Saturday that he would negotiate a mutual defense treaty with Israel — a top priority for the prime minister. Netanyahu tweeted back his appreciation for his “dear friend” Trump.

On Tuesday, voters seemed unmoved. As of Wednesday afternoon, Netanyahu appeared to be six seats shy of a majority, with about 91 percent of the vote counted. Those numbers suggested his party had not even won a plurality of seats.

Trump’s pro-Israel stance has been unconvincing to most American Jews — a point that has irked him to no end. He recently accused them of being “disloyal” for backing Democrats, even though the overwhelming majority of American Jews vote for and identity as Democrats, and have done so for decades.

Meanwhile, Trump has repeatedly made anti-Semitic comments (mistakenly thinking that stereotyping Jews is a compliment) and praised neo-Nazis and white nationalists as “very fine people” after a massacre in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Despite spending a great deal of his Wednesday morning on Twitter, Trump has yet to address the election results in Israel.

Published with permission of The American Independent.


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