Israel, like the rest of the world, has been following the dramatic US elections closely, especially as the tight race makes it impossible to predict whether Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump or Democratic rival Hillary Clinton will be elected the 45th president of the United States.
For Israel, there is probably no diplomatic relationship more important than the one with the United States, its top strategic ally. While both candidates have pledged to retain and bolster the special bond Israel and the US share, Israeli lawmakers have been monitoring the situation closely.
Various MKs - Members of the Knesset, Israel's parliamentary body - recently shared their thoughts about today's election and the campaign that has preceded it.
Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai, who heads the Israel-US relations lobby, said, "I think Hillary Clinton is going to win. From an Israeli perspective, I believe that a Clinton victory would be better for Israel, based on her experience as the secretary of state, and how her husband, former President Bill Clinton, treated Israel during his presidency."
American-born Likud MK Yehuda Glick, who renounced his American citizenship following election to the Knesset, said: "If I still had the right to vote, I would be very undecided as to which candidate to vote for. My political views are closer to the Republican [platform], but I wouldn't vote for someone accused of sexual harassment and misogyny. Still, my hands would be shaking if I had to [vote] for Clinton, so I'm lucky I don't have to make this decision. "
Likud MK Sharren Haskel said, "I'd rather not say whom I support because I don't think it's our place to weigh in on the US elections. But my heart tells me Clinton is going to win."
Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg said, "It's hard to predict the outcome in these elections, but I do feel that it would be better for everyone if Clinton won."
The MKs Israel Hayom interviewed were very critical of the campaign, which was rife with mutual mud-slinging.
"I don't think any previous election campaign has sunk so low," Glick said. "Both Trump and Clinton just wanted to humiliate each other, and they said very little about policy. If these are the only two presidential candidates 320 million Americans could find, things must be dire."
Haskel said she was particularly bothered by how "both just took the gloves off and washed all their [opponent's] dirty laundry in public. It drove the discourse to a new low, and it was sad to see. There were very little debates about real issues and endless slandering, below the belt."
Zandberg simply noted that "everything that could have been said about this roller-coaster crazy election campaign has been said."
Asked how they believe the results would affect Israel-US relations, they agreed the bond between the longtime allies is stronger than any election campaign.
Shai and Zandberg agreed that a Clinton win would likely result in a push by her administration to reignite the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Zandberg noted that she "couldn't possibly imagine" how Trump being elected would affect Israel-US ties.
Haskel stressed that "the ties between the US and Israel run so deep no president would ever be able to undermine it. I also believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would have infinitely better chemistry with whoever is elected than he did with [U.S. President Barack] Obama."
This is a lightly edited version of the original article published by Israel Hayom at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=37791