2016 Scene in Tel Aviv: ‘Nothing is Going to Change’
While millions of Americans lined up at the ballot box, hundreds of Israelis gathered last night at the Tel Aviv Dan Panorama Hotel to get a local taste of our “BFF’s” elections.
The traditional US Embassy party brought together US citizens, politicians, diplomats, journalists (those who were not lucky enough to be sent to Times Square) and US-Israel pundits, celebrating US democracy with a live Jerusalem-based rock band performance, trivia games, and of course – food and booze. Split screens broadcast nonstop coverage of the dramatic day, but the main issue that occupied the youngsters at the party was not Trump v. Clinton but rather the fact that the wine and beer was not given out for free.
The host of the evening, Ambassador Dan Shapiro, didn’t know at the time what the future would hold for the US and that the event could be one of the last ones he would host. Addressing the crowd, he encouraged the crowd to get out and vote and have a “peaceful transition of power.” Speaking to Kafe Knesset, Shapiro made an extra diplomatic effort to project bipartisanship and keep politics out of the picture. “Obviously, as an ambassador, I cannot say who is better for Israel,” he told Kafe Knesset, “But the real answer is that the alliance is so close and strong in all aspects – security, economy and our shared diplomatic values. I can promise you that whomever enters the White House – nothing is going to change.”
Regarding the burning question on PM Netanyahu’s mind – President Obama’s future plans for the next two months vis a vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Shapiro reiterated that “the president has not made any decision, but he – and us – are debating if there is anything he can contribute to preserve the two-state solution as viable. We know we won’t achieve the 2 state solution while he is in office but we are concerned from the trends on the ground. But no decision has been made yet.”
Spotted: Former Israeli Ambassadors to the US Zalman Shoval and Itamar Rabinovich, Leonid Nevzlin, MKs Amir Ohana, Ayub Kara, Merav Michaeli, Michal Biran, AIPAC Israel Director Cameron Brown, Haaretz’s Barak Ravid, Charlotte Halle, Bradley Burston, Alison Kaplan-Zomer, TOI Sarah Tuttle Singer, TIP VP Lior Weintraub, and JPPI president Avinoam Bar Yosef.