Two ministers from the right-wing Jewish Home party and another from the ruling Likud party congratulated former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton on Friday for his appointment as US President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted that it was a “great appointment” and that Bolton, considered a foreign policy hawk who is opposed to the Iran nuclear deal, was a “stalwart friend of Israel.”
Environment Minister Ze’ev Elkin of Likud said Bolton was “not unknown to Israel.
“He has been, unquestionably, a friend of Israel for many years, including in his position as US ambassador to the UN,” Elkin told Tel Aviv radio station 102 FM. “I have no doubt it will be comfortable for us to work with him.”
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked posted in Hebrew that “President Trump continues to appoint true friends of Israel to senior positions. John Bolton is one of the most outstanding.”
Great appointment of Amb. John Bolton, an extraordinary security expert, experienced diplomat and a stalwart friend of Israel.
Good luck John! pic.twitter.com/bnIp2WF93h
— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) March 23, 2018
She praised Bolton as an “excellent appointment” who brought to the job “great experience and original thinking.” She added that “the Trump administration is emerging as the most sympathetic administration toward Israel of all time.”
Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren (Kulanu) also welcomed Bolton’s appointment, saying that it signalled the end of the Iran nuclear accord and a tougher US line toward the Palestinians.
“The days of the nuclear agreement, which is terrible in its current form, are nearing an end,” he told Hebrew-language media.
“From now on Abu Mazen will have to think twice before deciding to spit on President Trump or his representatives,” he said, referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Trump announced in a tweet that Bolton, a former UN ambassador, was to replace General H.R. McMaster, in a move pundits said called the future of the Iran deal into serious doubt.
I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor. I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend. There will be an official contact handover on 4/9.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
McMaster had been expected to leave later this year, so his exit was no surprise. But Bolton’s nomination has stunned much of Washington.
A vocal advocate of the Iraq war, he has also championed pre-emptive strikes against North Korea and regime change in Iran — making him an outlier even among Republicans.
His appointment had been fiercely opposed by many within Trump’s inner circle, most notably the coterie of military officers surrounding the president.
Bolton — a veteran of the George W. Bush administration — will now have a central role in crafting US foreign policy, including refereeing debates between America’s spooks, soldiers and diplomats.
But his most potent role will be framing the security decisions that make it to Trump’s desk.
His approach to American power matches neatly with Trump’s tough-talking rhetoric, although the two have not always agreed on overseas wars.