To the 45th President from an American-Israeli

Dear President Trump,

Congratulations on your inauguration, I know I echo the thoughts of many in wishing you much success during the course of your term.

I am writing to you today not as a supporter, but as a constituent of yours living in Israel who is greatly concerned by the rhetoric surrounding your ascension. Your victory in November brought jubilance to many, including myself, who believe you can live up to your campaign slogan and Make America Great Again. However, it also brought excitement from many within the government here who feel your presidency somehow justifies their political and personal greed.

The structure of Israel’s government is flawed, possibly the consequence of never having established a constitution and a fixed set of rules to guide us. The result is a plague of rampant corruption and abuse of power at the very top of our political structure. It is a fact that many of our leaders, some past and some still in power, have been indicted and convicted for an assortment of crimes. Many Israelis use this as evidence of our democracy working for the people, although I believe it shows just how ineffective the structure is.

In America, a politician convicted and jailed for a crime can expect to never serve in a public role again, in fact in many cases they cannot legally. In Israel, a conviction is a badge of honor and not only will they once again rise to power, they will be rewarded with prestigious positions. Our own Prime Minister is under investigation, again, for things that would have sunk the political careers of anyone had it happened anywhere else. True, he has never been indicted, although the evidence has been damning over the years and certainly demonstrate a systemic abuse of power and public trust.

This is the Israeli government your son-in-law will be working with to try and bring about peace, however given the rhetoric of the ruling party I am doubtful that Jared will find success in this quest. Since your election, the talk of annexation and expansion has increased. The elation that some government members have regarding your election is misguided, as if your presidency somehow gives them a green light to do as they wish with regard to the land east of Israel proper. As a staunch supporter and defender of your candidacy over the last year and a half, I ask that you look at Israel objectively and not merely as the 51st state with a reddish tint.

In order for your efforts on peace to succeed, Israel needs to reform its political structure. I know you are currently working hard to confirm your selected cabinet and each and every one of those positions is important in ensuring the proper functioning of your government. Did you know that in Israel, there are cabinet level positions that have no purpose? The title of “Minister without Portfolio” is one several MK’s hold and one that enables them to collect a nice salary, a taxpayer funded car, an office and security detail for literally doing nothing. Netanyahu’s government is the largest in Israel’s history with many ministers holding no-show jobs simply because they demonstrated loyalty to the Prime Minister.

Illustrating the farce that is the Israeli cabinet. Netanyahu himself holds multiple titles within his government. At one point this past year, in addition to being Israel’s leader, he was the defense minister, communications minister, health minister, economy minister and foreign minister all at the same time – a jack of all trades he is not and certainly a master of none. Bibi is greedy for power and seemingly will do everything he feels necessary to keep it. As a result of the poor structure of government, the citizens of Israel are the ones who suffer.

The divide between rich, poor and middle class is vast – with a handful of people controlling a large majority of the wealth here. Food is outrageously expensive, taxes are obscenely high and most salaries ridiculously low. When the masses start murmuring about their dissatisfaction, like clockwork some national security emergency sprouts up and the focus of the national attention is once again directed towards the existential threats to Jews here and all over the world. The government plays the Anti Semite card often and no one is better at playing it than Netanyahu. Surely, there are many in the world who hate us, as someone who travels often I see it first hand – however it is overplayed here in order to tame the people into continuously voting in hard-lined “security minded” governments that truly do not reflect the will or wants of the majority.

So, please know who you are dealing with. Certainly, President Obama was not a friend to Israel in the manner his predecessors were, however as an American I was appalled at the lack of respect the Israeli government had towards the office you now hold. America has been and will be a good friend to Israel, and nothing can warrant Netanyahu’s blatant lack of respect.

If indeed, you are going to send Jared to help make life better for the people living on this land, let it not be to try once again to broker peace. Ramallah is certainly no partner and to be honest, neither is this government. If you truly wish to help this wonderful country I and so many Americans call home, use your position to reform our system into a more honest one that is transparent and representative of its citizenry. Only once we have fixed our internal problems, can we focus clearly and efficiently on creating peace within our region.

A very smart man once said “You don’t reward failure by promoting those responsible for it, because all you get is more failure.” By engaging Netanyahu and his administration you would be empowering them as your equals and thus rewarding their failure to the people they are sworn to serve. The biggest monument to your legacy will be a stable Israel that truly is a democracy of, by and for the people. Peace can happen in our time, but it cannot happen until Israel’s system of government is returned to the people and its leaders held accountable to the people they serve.

Make Israel Great Again!!

#MIGA!!

Thank you.

Jay Engelmayer

About the Author
Jay Engelmayer is a business development professional who resides in Israel with his wife and four children. He is a four-star trained chef, a staunch yet practical Zionist and a self-proclaimed news junky.
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