In the West Bank, some are unsure about whether Trump is a friend to Israel or not

 ‘Just because [Jared Kushner’s] Jewish, it doesn’t mean he would protect us’

Beit El Jewish settler Chaim Silberstein stands in his home east of Jerusalem

Beit El Jewish settler Chaim Silberstein stands in his home east of Jerusalem ( Nelofer Pazira )

Chaim Silberstein insists on showing me Jacob’s Stone. It lies in Beit El – “The House of God” – which is the name of the colony of 7,000 Jews just outside Ramallah. Right here was where the ancient Jewish patriarch lay down on his stone, so it is written, and dreamed of the ladder to heaven upon which angels ascended and descended. It was the 25th anniversary of the broken Oslo agreement, a strange day upon which to remember all those winged creatures – rather earlier in history – plodding up and down. But I have to admit that God’s message to Jacob all those thousands of years ago was a bit less prosaic and certainly more long term. “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.”

So much for Oslo, then, and all those withdrawal agreements and the Palestinian State-that-isn’t, although, not far from a 1,000-year-old wormwood tree, Silberstein becomes a little lyrical – ever so cautiously, mind you – about the modern-day descendants of Jacob and the Americans who are trying to make God’s dream come true. It’s odd to hear the name of Trump up here, within the walls of Beit El and guarded by the guns of Israel’s settlers. Silberstein carries a hefty firearm himself, although I suspect his ambitions are a good deal more powerful than bullets.

He’s just been to Brazil to talk to a “mega event” of Christian Evangelicals. “The outpouring of love for Israel that they showed was unmatched,” he says. “I was just blown away. The difference between them and Trump is that they have a very, very deep love for Israel that stems from their faith. I think Trump has faith, but I think it’s a more minor part of his support for Israel. I think he loves Israel for our values and for our acumen and for achievements. But, for example, the difference is that Trump might do a deal which would harm us – and evangelical Christians would never agree to that.”


1 reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: