Netanyahu Gifted Trump With a Sign

Perhaps you saw the headline: Israel announces new Golan Heights settlement named ‘Trump Heights.’

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced a new settlement in the Golan Heights named after his “great friend” Donald Trump.

Netanyahu unveiled a sign at the proposed site of the settlement on Sunday bearing the name “Trump Heights,” and thanked the US President for breaking with the international community to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the region.

True to form, the president responded on Twitter.

It is a bit of a stretch, however, for the U.S. Ambassador to Israel to refer to a “village” dedicated in honor of Trump. He would have been more accurate to say that Netanyahu had dedicated a sign in honor of the president.

Noa Landau, from the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, explains the absurdity with a good dose of humor.

In huge gilded letters (what else?), on a piece of synthetic lawn (of course), a large sign was erected in the Golan Heights, as if taken directly from the best of comedy sketches. Ramat Trump, or Trump Heights, will be built here. Even the strong gusts, which made it difficult to put up the scenery, gave this ridiculous event the atmosphere of an Israeli satire – a moment before a variety of government ministers began their comically dramatic march toward the ceremony.

We’ll begin at the end. No new community named for U.S. President Donald Trump was actually established on Sunday in the Golan Heights. As even the founder of the Knesset caucus for the Golan, Kahol Lavan MK Zvi Hauser, observed: “Anyone who reads the fine print of the ‘historic’ decision understands that this is a conceptual decision. There is no funding. There is no planning. There is no location and there is really no committed decision. That’s what the ‘Israbluff’” – to borrow a term from Israeli comedy, avoiding a problem with a fictional solution – “of establishing of a new community in the Golan Heights looks like.”

Now would be a good time to familiarize ourselves with the word “Israbluff.”

Take Yisrael (meaning “Israel”), combine it with the Israeli pronunciation of “bluff” (as in “There’s no way you really have a good hand – you must be bluffing”) and you get… Yisrablof (“Israbluff”). This derogatory word can refer to a hoax or a swindle, or a person or entity – often someone or something power – pulling the wool over someone’s eyes…

“Israbluff” connotes both deception and illusion, or as the messenger says toward the end of the skit: “Everything is make-believe. You say one thing and do another.”

Who knew there was an Israeli word that so perfectly captures the persona of Donald Trump? But now we can add to it the fact that the prime minister of Israel knows Trump so well that he realized that simply putting his name on a sign in gilded letters would pump up the president’s narcissistic ego. After all, that has been Trump’s business model for his entire life.

There are more important stories to follow today—such as escalating tensions with Iran, important Supreme Court decisions, and a gunman who opened fire on a federal courthouse in Dallas. But nothing captures the Trump era better than the politically struggling prime minister of Israel gifting the grifter president of the United States with a sign. Ultimately, the joke is on you, Mr. Trump.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.