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JERUSALEM (JTA) — John Bolton, Trump’s third national security adviser, is a well-known quantity in Israel’s policy circles. In his previous capacities during the George W. Bush administration, he served in two prominent positions heavily related to Israel – undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs from 2001 to 2005, and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for a year and a half, in 2005 and 2006.
Bolton’s Israeli counterparts, myself included, generally found him to be a skilled professional with very strong views on many issues. Most prominently, he seemed to focus on North Korea and Iran, both independently and jointly, suggesting possible covert collaboration on nuclear and missile technologies between these two members of “the axis of evil.”
The two Israeli ambassadors to the U.N. who served alongside him have described in recent interviews a very intimate modus operandi, whereby the U.S. ambassador would essentially serve as a canary deep in the tunnels of his administration. Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Dan Gillerman recently told The Daily Beast that Bolton warned his Israeli counterparts about U.S. support for a French resolution that would go against Israeli interests.
“Condi Rice sold you out to the French,” Bolton said of the former secretary of state, according to Gillerman.
At such moments, the Israelis would then move quickly to curtail the American policy process by involving the two heads of state – at the time, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President George W. Bush, who had a very close relationship and personal rapport. Thus, politics would triumph over policy again and again.