Donald Trump’s popularity has dropped markedly among Israelis since he assumed the presidency, according to a new poll.
On January 11 – nine days before his inauguration - 79 per cent of Israelis saw Donald Trump as being more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian.
By contrast, in a new poll commissioned by the Jerusalem Post ahead of Mr Trump’s trip to Israel, that number dropped to 56 per cent. The Israeli paper has said it would commission another poll after the trip to ascertain how successful his visit was.
Although many Israeli right-wingers hailed Mr Trump’s election victory as a resounding win for the settlement enterprise, his noticeably lukewarm attitude towards further Israeli building in the West Bank has left many rethinking that view.
Mr Trump has also reneged on a campaign promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The preparation for his visit has also led to negative headlines for Mr Trump; firstly after a US official told Israelis that the Western Wall did not belong to Israel, and subsequently when it was reported that top secret information that Mr Trump revealed to the Russians had come from an Israeli source inside Daesh.
Mr Trump’s is due to arrive in Israel on Monday, after visiting Saudi Arabia. The US and Israeli media reported this week that Mr Trump had cancelled his planned trip to Masada after being informed he could not land his helicopter on top of the mountain plateau (which is a Unesco World Heritage site) and would instead have to take the cable car up, as other US presidents have in the past. Israeli news outlets have also been wondering how Mr Trump intends to take in the message of Yad Vashem given that his schedule has advertised that he will spending just 15 minutes at Israel’s Holocaust Museum.
Despite the recent awkwardness, Prime Minister Netanyahu met David Friedman, the US’s new ambassador to Israel, on Tuesday. Mr Friedman has been a strong supporter of the US embassy being relocated to Jerusalem, and has spoken of Jerusalem as Israel’s “eternal, indivisible capital”.
“We forward to receiving President Trump”, the Prime Minister said.
“He's coming here to strengthen our great alliance”.