Smotrich lauds Trump for showing ‘courage and integrity’ by rejecting Palestinian state

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads a Religious Zionism faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, April 30, 2024. (Oren Ben Hakoon/ Flash90)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads a Religious Zionism faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, April 30, 2024. (Oren Ben Hakoon/ Flash90)

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich lauds Donald Trump for expressing skepticism regarding a two-state solution, praising the former US president for “going back on his support for the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

In a wide-ranging interview with Time magazine, Trump stated that “there was a time when I thought two states could work. Now I think two states is going to be very, very tough.”

“A Palestinian state would be a terrorist state that would endanger the existence of Israel and the international pressure to establish it is an injustice on a historical scale,” Smotrich says. “I hope and pray that more leaders in the world will discover the courage and integrity shown by presidential candidate Trump to change their position.”

Other right-wing members of the government have expressed support for Trump and criticism of Biden in recent months. In February, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said that “if Trump were in power, the US’s conduct would be completely different,” while Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu warned that US President Joe Biden “is leading us to a disaster.”

Last week, Diaspora Minister Amichai Chikli declared that if he were an American he would vote for Trump.

Despite the outspoken support he has received from members of Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet, Trump has been highly critical of the prime minister, telling Time that the premier has “rightfully been criticized” for failing to prevent the massive October 7 Hamas attack.

“They have the most sophisticated equipment,” Trump said of Israel. “They had — everything was there to stop that. And a lot of people knew about it, you know, thousands and thousands of people knew about it, but Israel didn’t know about it, and I think he’s being blamed for that very strongly, being blamed.”

The attack “should have never happened,” said Trump.

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