Former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Zalman Shoval, assessed Donald Trump’s overwhelming support in the primary elections as the result of disappointed Americans who are fed up with the ventures in both parties.
"This is definitely a phenomenon and a big surprise," Shoval said of the billionaire's rapid rise within the GOP.
"Trump may be the official Republican a candidate and might even end up in the White House, although the latter is less likely. But whether or not he sits in the White House, Trump’s campaign is an interesting phenomenon and surprising in terms of ambience and public opinion," said Shoval to Arutz Sheva.
Shoval believes that part of the reason for Trump's – and Democrat Bernie Sanders' – surprise popularity is a strong protest vote.
"Even among Democrats, Sanders’ great support demonstrates dissent against the two main parties. Although in Trump’s case, there is also a psychological element. People want to hear from at least one candidate all the things they think about but do not always say aloud, and Trump says these things.”
However, if Trump does get elected for the presidency, it is unclear whether his support for Israel is guaranteed, "First of all, as an Israeli public figure, I do not need to associate with any candidate, nor do I want to say who is better. However, from a rational perspective, we have seen former candidates expressing favorable views of Israel, Jerusalem and embassy locations during election time, but once they were elected to the presidency they change their minds.”
''In the United States, there is a tradition of continuity in governance so there is no certainty that if a Republican president is elected, he will change the policies regarding Israel,” said Shoval.
Moreover, Shoval does not rule out the possibility that if Trump was president, he would intervene even less than Obama in the Middle East.
"Trump advocates foreign policy as an ‘isolationist’, he called himself an ‘isolationist’ in matters regarding America’s role as a superpower and leader of the free world. He may even be more extreme in the negative sense than Obama who has already been criticized for his lack of involvement in what is happening around the world. Although Trump did speak about Muslims, he did so in a context regarding domestic policy as he associates American-Muslims with terrorism."