(Bloomberg) — Donald Trump has spent two years showering Benjamin Netanyahu with precious political gifts, from the Jerusalem embassy move to his exit from the Iran nuclear deal. With a close-run election looming, the Israeli leader needs him more than ever.
Netanyahu travels to Washington next week with a corruption scandal hanging over his bid for re-election on April 9. For the first time in a decade, his fragile coalition could fall to a center-left bloc led by ex-military chief of staff Benny Gantz.
Netanyahu’s officially coming for the AIPAC conference, an annual pro-Israel policy gathering that’s become a key stop for political leaders, but his visit will serve up excellent campaign optics back home. He’s certain to be photographed meeting President Trump while his speech, delivered in his American-accented baritone, will get plenty of airtime in Israel.
“He’ll be speaking in English to an American crowd, but the most important audience will be the Israelis back home,” said Natan Sachs, director of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “The message is: ‘Show me another Israeli who can do this. Show me someone else who has this kind of relationship with Trump.’”