BY RAOUL WOOTLIFF AND RAPHAEL AHREN, Times of Israel—
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told a Republican event in Jerusalem on Wednesday that he will work to make “America and Israel safe again.”
“I love Israel and honor and respect the Jewish tradition and it’s important we have a president who feels the same way,” Trump said in a pre-recorded video message to hundreds of Israeli and American supporters.
“My administration will stand side-by-side with the Jewish people and Israel’s leaders to continue strengthening the bridges that connect, not only Jewish Americans and Israelis, but also all Americans and Israelis,” Trump said in the one-minute clip.
“Together we will stand up to enemies, like Iran, bent on destroying Israel and her people, together we will make America and Israel safe again,” he added.
Several hundred Israeli supporters were gathered in Jerusalem for the event, which took place at the rooftop of a Jerusalem restaurant overlooking the Old City. The event, headlined “Jerusalem Forever,” was held by Republicans Overseas Israel and intended to affirm the Jewish people’s ties to Jerusalem in light of recent UNESCO resolutions that have ignored them, the group said.
Earlier Wednesday, UNESCO passed a resolution echoing a similar text from last week, referring to the Temple Mount compound solely by its Muslim names, “Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” and defining it only as “a Muslim holy site of worship.” Israel recalled its envoy to UNESCO in protest.
Trump’s running mate Mike Pence, who also addressed the event via video, called Jerusalem “the eternal undivided capital of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.”
“Donald Trump and I stand with Israel because Israel’s fight is our fight, because Israel’s cause is our cause,” he said. “Israel is our most cherished ally.” Pence said that he and Trump “understand that Israel is not hated by her enemies for what she does wrong but rather for what she does right.”
“Like the US, Israel is hated by terrorists and the failed states that support them. She is hated by too many progressives, because she is successful and her people are free,” he added, saying the IDF fights with “decency, humanity and restraint.”
Trump’s adviser on Israel affairs, David Friedman, in Israel for the event, told the crowd that a Trump administration would treat Israel differently that the current US administration, vowing that if elected, Trump would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“Under a Trump administration there is going to be no daylight between the US and the State of Israel,” he said. “If there are disagreements they will be handled in private as is done between close friends.”
Friedman said he expected 80 percent of registered US voters in Israel would vote for Trump.
Trump supporters, many of them wearing red ‘Make America Great Again’ hats, said they came to the event to show support for the candidate they felt was the more pro-Israel choice.
“I’m here today to show support for Donald Trump as he is standing with us, supporting us here in Israel,” said Reuven Ashenberg, who hails from Teaneck, New Jersey and now runs the Republican party’s campaign in Beit Shemesh. “He’s the only candidate that’s pro-Israel and we need to show him our support as we’re rallying around the right choice, to help ‘Make America Great Again,’ and thereby helping Israel become great again as well.”
Abe Marks, a retiree who moved from New York to Jerusalem four years ago, said his biggest concern about a possible Clinton victory would be her future picks for the Supreme Court. Her choices “will be destructive to American freedoms and the American way of life.”
Marks agreed with pundits who called the GOP candidate unpredictable, but still prefers him over Clinton. “I’m not enamored with him. He’s been described as a loose canon, and that might well be true, but I am very, very scared of her,” he said. “And I like that he’s not part of the big boys’ club. She’s under the thumb of the New World Order.”
Most importantly, he added, Trump will actually fulfill his election campaign to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“They all promise it, but he will actually do it. He has nothing holding him back,” he said.