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When Donald Trump becomes president in January, it'll be the first time that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have a Republican counterpart in the White House. Netanyahu is conservative and he's had a very rocky relationship with President Obama. With the prospect of greater support for Netanyahu's right-wing agenda in Washington, Israel's right wing is now energizing. Here's NPR's Daniel Estrin.
UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: L'chaim.
DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: There was a party the other night in an Israeli lobbyist's office boardroom overlooking Tel Aviv. Activists who tried to get Israeli-Americans to vote for Trump during the elections were celebrating his victory. They toasted congratulations over Trump brand vodka and sparkling wine.
(SOUNDBITE OF BOTTLE POPPING)
ESTRIN: A guest of honor at the party was Yossi Dagan, the leader of a West Bank settlement council, who talked to the crowd.
YOSSI DAGAN: (Foreign language spoken).
ESTRIN: He said the settlements have faced a catastrophe with the last eight years of the Obama administration. For years the U.S. has criticized Israeli settlement construction where Palestinians want to establish a state. It said it's corrosive to the cause of peace. But the settler leader expects Trump will not pressure Israel on settlements. An activist at the victory party, Chaim Rosenfeld, had this advice for Trump.
CHAIM ROSENFELD: He just has to, like, take a step back and let Israel do what it really needs to do.
ESTRIN: Right-wing education minister Naftali Bennett says Trump should give up on the idea of an independent Palestinian state, even though the U.S. has long said it sees no other alternative and Netanyahu has said the same. It's the kind of thing Israeli columnist Shmuel Rosner is referring to when he says Netanyahu might miss having a U.S. president as a counterweight to his right-wing backers.
SHMUEL ROSNER: The Obama administration was a useful tool for Netanyahu, a useful excuse for him. When he did not want to do something, he could always say, well, the White House wouldn't let me. If the Trump administration signals that whatever Israel wants Trump is willing to support, it will be much more difficult for Netanyahu to use the American administration as an excuse to block the right wing from running with its agenda.
ESTRIN: Netanyahu told "60 Minutes" yesterday Trump feels warmly toward Israel. He said he talked to Trump about undoing the Iranian nuclear deal, which Netanyahu opposes. But overall he's been cautious in his comments about Trump's win. Rosner, the columnist, thinks that's because Trump's so unconventional.
ROSNER: Netanyahu for many years was hoping to get a Republican administration. Now he got one but it's not truly a Republican administration. It's a Trump administration.
ESTRIN: Israel's ambassador to the U.S. met with the president-elect last month. The Palestinian leadership has not met with Trump, says Dimitri Diliani, a member of a leadership council for the governing Fatah party.
DIMITRI DILIANI: I don't think that the Palestinian leadership view Trump's victory as a positive for our cause.
ESTRIN: Because of Trump's outspoken support of Israel. But Diliani offers a contrary take. He's also a high-tech businessman. And he says many in the Palestinian private sector are optimistic about Trump.
DILIANI: President Trump would be more decisive when it comes to the Palestinian cause. Business people think get it done, boom, I want the plan to get it done. This is exactly what the Palestinian people want. And I believe that this is what many or most Israelis want.
ESTRIN: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas suggested he's keeping an open mind about Trump. We know nothing about him, Abbas said recently. Daniel Estrin, NPR News, Jerusalem.
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