Israeli minister sparks outrage for saying he would back Trump over Biden

Israeli minister sparks outrage for saying he would back Trump over Biden
Israel's Amichai Chikli said if he were an American, he would ‘vote for Trump and Republicans’ after US congress approved $4 billion in military aid to Israel.
3 min read
24 April, 2024
'If I were an American citizen with the right to vote, I'd vote for Trump and Republicans', Amichai Chikli said in an interview [Getty]

Israel's diaspora affairs minister sparked outrage after saying he would vote for Donald Trump if he could in this year's United States presidential election.

In an interview with Kan Radio, Amichai Chikli, who is in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, said US President Joe Biden's leadership was harming Israel and other countries.

"If I were an American citizen with the right to vote, I'd vote for Trump and Republicans," he said.

"Biden is a friend of Israel, but he's under intense pressure that is affecting him and creating real damage to relations between the countries."

"He said 'Don't' to Hezbollah and Iran at the beginning of the war, and we saw the result," the minister added, referring to Iran's unprecedented attack on Israel in April.

Chikli has since received backlash for his comments.

Michael Oren, the US' former Israeli ambassador, described the comments as "harmful to Israel's security, the US relationship with American Jews and ungrateful for the financial, strategic, and diplomatic support which Israel has recently received from the United States".

The minister's comments came hours after the US Congress approved a bill allocating almost $26 billion for supporting Israel and providing humanitarian relief for people in Gaza.

Around $4 billion of that would be dedicated to replenishing Israel's missile defence systems, while over $9 billion would go towards humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

American Israeli lawyer Marc Zell also weighed in on the minister's comments in a post on X.

"The minister is correct, but I'm not sure it's prudent for an Israeli minister to comment on domestic US politics especially in an election, even though Democrat politicians and the President himself have been actively interfering with Israeli politics..." he wrote.

Netanyahu criticised US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's call for elections in Israel as "totally inappropriate" after the senate slammed the minister as a "major obstacle" to peace.

"We're not a banana republic," Netanyahu told CNN's "State of the Union" show.

"I think the only government that we should be working on to bring down now is the terrorist tyranny in Gaza, the Hamas tyranny that murdered over a thousand Israelis," he added.

Tensions have been growing between the two nations amid Israel's war on Gaza, which has since killed over 34,000 Palestinians since 7 October.

Netanyahu cancelled an official delegation visit to the US in protest over Washington allowing the UN's decision to call for an immediate ceasefire in the region.

Biden has critiqued Israel's approach in its war on Gaza, calling it a "mistake" and called for the state to allow the flow of aid into Gaza.