In his first public message to the country, US President-elect Donald Trump hailed Israel today as a “beacon of hope to countless people”.
“Israel and America share so many of the same values, such as freedom of speech, freedom of worship and the importance of creating opportunities for all citizens to pursue their dreams,” Trump said in the message published by a pro-Israeli newspaper, Israel Hayom.
“Israel is the one true democracy and defender of human rights in the Middle East and a beacon of hope to countless people.”
He added that he hoped his administration would play a “significant role in helping the parties to achieve a just, lasting peace,” saying that any deal would have to be directly negotiated between the two sides.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was among the first leaders Trump spoke to after his election victory.
Israeli right-wingers have hailed Trump’s win as an opportunity to consolidate control over the occupied West Bank.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the hardline Jewish Home party, said on Wednesday that the US election result meant the idea of a Palestinian state was over.