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2016-11-18 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


November 18, 2016  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

Israelis still lining up to visit Trump’s America

By ANDREW TOBIN JTA news service

TEL AVIV – Donald Trump’s surprising win may have spurred increased chatter among some Americans – Jews among them – about moving to Canada. But for Israelis, at least, the U.S. hasn’t lost its luster.

Citizens of the Jewish state are as eager as ever to visit, and Trump’s election apparently hasn’t altered any of their travel plans.

On Monday morning, Nov. 14, dozens of Israelis lined up outside the U.S. Embassy here to acquire American travel documents. While the embassy does not provide official numbers about applications, guards outside the building said some 600 to 700 people were coming from throughout the country every day – in other words, business as usual.

About a dozen Israelis spoke to JTA as they left the embassy, many clutching new passports or visas.

Being familiar with Israel’s fragmented politics, they were not completely shocked by Trump’s divisive rise. Though some voiced concern about his experience and temperament, all agreed that the former reality TV star would likely do a better job than President Barack Obama had of protecting the interests of Israel and the Jews, which they did not seem to distinguish.

“I think we’ve heard the real voice of what’s happening in the U.S.,” said Rachel Baram, a 39-yearold Israeli-American manager at a web development company who was renewing her U.S. passport ahead of an upcoming business trip to Orlando. “After the shock, I’m kind of optimistic. I think Trump could get things done because he’s not an idealist.

“I do think he’s kind of nuts, though,” she added, half whispering.

Yarin Cohen, a 21-year-old law student at Bar-Ilan University, had helped his friend get a tourist visa so they could attend a wedding together this winter in Brooklyn. He was surprised that American politics had become as “extreme” as Israel’s, but thought Trump would bring their governments closer.

Cohen did not think Trump, who railed against immigrants during the campaign, would make Israelis less welcome in the U.S.

Haim Levy, a 26-year-old computer specialist at an American corporation in Israel, had just gotten a tourist visa to visit his family in Tampa. Levy said he understood why Americans had chosen Trump. “They’re just becoming more aware that radical Islam is very violent and we should try to stop it somehow.”

Trump’s “America first” perspective isn’t so different from Netanyahu’s obsession with Israel’s security, he said. But Levy suggested that Trump could learn a little statesmanship from the Israeli prime minister.

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