The leader of the freefalling world, Donald Trump, took to Twitter today to quote someone who claimed Trump is considered in Israel to be a king and the second coming of God.
….like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God…But American Jews don’t know him or like him. They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense! But that’s OK, if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s good for…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2019
Upon encountering this latest emanation, I first checked I was not being spoofed, and, upon discovering “king of Israel” is trending on Twitter, I raided the alcohol stores. Having severely depleted them, with just a third of a bottle of Arak left in case I’ll have to enter Twitter again, my brain reached a troublesome conclusion:
He’s right, you know.
Well, not literally, no. Israel is technically a republic, and even had Trump wanted to get himself crowned, we already have a local would-be royal family, the Netanyahus. Seeing Trump engaging the local Lady Macbeth, Sara Netanyahu, in a free-for-all for the throne would be something I’d be willing to pay to watch, though.
Also, technically speaking, Trump couldn’t be anointed because, well, Israel is a Jewish-Orthodox country, only male Jews need apply for the crown, and there’s the slight problem that you’ll have to be the messiah to get the job. I think this last clause definitely disqualifies him.
And, of course, Orthodox Judaism does not recognize the concept of the “second coming of God.” To be more pedantic about it, it’s considered to be a heresy, quite likely punishable by death.
But when you combine this latest outburst with his claim that American Jews who vote Democrat are disloyal, you get a pretty accurate mental picture of what many Jews in Israel actually believe.
Israel is the only country in the world, I’m told, whose inhabitants have a positive image of Trump. When you hear our right-wingers speak about Trump, they do tend to call him king; and Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have compared him to the Persian King of All Kings, Cyrus, who gave permission to rebuild Jerusalem after its destruction in 586 BC.
This is what the Bible has to say about Cyrus:
“Thus says the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whom He has taken by his right hand […] I will go before you shattering the heights, I will shatter the bronze gateways, smash the iron bars; I will give you the hidden treasures, the sacred hoards, that you may know that I am the Lord.” Isaiah 45:1-3.
In Hebrew, “anointed” means “messiah”. So, when Netanyahu and his ilk are speaking of Trump as Cyrus, they are referring to him as someone declared messiah by the Lord. And they do believe he is a sort of messiah: he is the one to stand beside Israel against the nations. He is poking his fingers in the eyes of the enemies of Israel and showing them the Jews are right.
And most Israeli Jews do consider American Jews who vote Democrat to be disloyal – disloyal to their true country (as Israelis see it), which is Israel. American Jews are supposed to be the bulwark of Israel in the US and support it without question. That most American Jews are liberal and progressive (even if often progressive except for Palestine) is a major irritant to right-wing Israelis. Those American Jews are not in sync with the Fox Nation which is Israel.
So, while Trump is much more the Book of Esther’s Ahasuerus than he is Cyrus (I hereby deeply apologize to the real Xerxes and hope he will show me mercy worthy of his greatness), and while he is no king and never will be; and while conceiving him as a second coming of anything but Nero would be unspeakable apostasy – when Trump is speaking of the way he is seen by Israeli Jews, he’s not off the mark by much.
Which, in an unstable self-described genius with solid anti-Semitic credentials, should be very worrying for American Jews. They are now officially designated as “the bad Jews” as compared to the “good” ones, those who live here. And, should Trump act against them and not just wait for his goons to understand the dog whistles, most Israeli Jews will shake their heads and say: They had it coming. Why couldn’t they be more like us?