A majority of Israelis — 58% — believe that US President Donald Trump’s surprise decision to withdraw American troops from Syria harmed their country’s security interests, a new survey found.
However, 72% of Israelis also feel the Jewish state can defend itself “very well,” according to Israel Democracy Institute’s latest monthly Peace Index, published on Thursday.
Following Trump’s Syria pullout announcement, made via Twitter last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it would “not change anything.”
“We are not prepared to accept the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria which is directed against us,” the Israeli leader emphasized. “We will act against it vigorously and continuously, including during the current period.”
“We’re standing steadfast on our red lines in Syria and everywhere else,” he added.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot called the US move a “significant event,” but noted there was “no need to overstate it.”
On Friday, a US military spokesperson confirmed the drawdown of the American force — consisting of more than 2,000 soldiers who had been working in northeastern Syria with an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias in areas once held by ISIS — had begun.
The Algemeiner (c) 2018 . Barney Breen-Portnoy