Preoccupied by the political crisis that threatened to bring down the ruling coalition, politicians in Jerusalem on Tuesday overwhelmingly ignored the news of the United States getting a new secretary of state.
There is no doubt, however, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and most members of his government were delighted to learn that US President Donald Trump had fired the incumbent Rex Tillerson and tapped current CIA director Mike Pompeo for the job instead.
Pompeo is a known hawk on Iran. His views on the 2015 Iran deal perfectly align with those of Trump — and Netanyahu. They all think the deal was a catastrophe and needs to be dramatically improved or thrown out altogether.
Pompeo indicated in late 2014, before the deal was signed, that he believed military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities would more effectively thwart Tehran’s quest for atomic bombs than diplomacy.
In December, when rumors that Pompeo could replace Tillerson first surfaced, hawkish Middle East analyst Tom Gross said he would become “the first properly pro-Israel US secretary of state in decades.”
President Donald Trump’s sacking of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could sound the death knell for the Iran nuclear deal and further strain US ties with key European allies.
In explaining his decision to fire Tillerson, Trump said they had disagreed on many topics, but he specifically singled out one dispute: Whether or not to stay in the Iran pact.