“I feel a Trump presence in the room,” observes Hilla Benzaken, shuddering for effect. “I can feel this presence just hovering over the country. Just saying his name makes me uncomfortable, I feel like it’s the end of days or something.”
Benzaken has just been in the audience of a nonpartisan forum that listened attentively, if not always politely, to a debate between a Democrat and a Republican on the subject of who should be the 45th president of the US.
She is registered to vote in Massachusetts. But the debating room in a modern community centre, adorned with a US flag, is 8876km away — in the seaside Israeli city of Netanya.
The Democratic speaker lives happily in Tel Aviv and the Republican is a Jerusalem lawyer.
And Benzaken, who moved to Israel one year ago, is a lost cause to an unprecedented effort to get American citizens living in Israel to cast a vote for Donald Trump.
At least 200,000 eligible US voters live in Israel, most estimates suggest, making it one of the largest clutches among the 8.7 million Americans living overseas.