Donald Trump met with members of the Jewish media on Thursday, days before he and other candidates vie for the Orthodox vote in the New York presidential primaries.
Sitting at the head of the table on the 25th floor of Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan, the frontrunner in the Republican primary talked about his AIPAC speech, which he said “got the biggest ovations of the night.”
“Are you all supporters of AIPAC,” he asked the gathered three dozen reporters around the conference table.
Trump said that he grew up on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn and has “many friends” in the Orthodox community.
Most of the questions revolved around Israel, his views of the peace process and his relationship with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
He said that he was the one who canceled his trip to Israel earlier this year in the wake of his controversial call for all Muslims to be banned from visiting or immigrating to the United States. But he was “disappointed” in Netanyahu’s statement “rejecting” his remarks on Muslims.
“He said something that wasn’t as positive as I would have liked, and I cancelled it,” Trump said. “I did not particularly like his statement.”
Asked how he would refer to lands captured by Israel in 1967, he referred to his lawyer, Jason Greenblatt.
“I would not call it ‘occupied territories,’” Greenblatt said, comments which Trump said reflects his thinking. “They are over the Green Line, for sure, they are settlements.”
Greenblatt added that he thought that Jews must be able to remain in their homes but the two sides have to work out an agreement.
Trump said in response to a question that he is formulating a position on religious freedom when it conflicts with immorality — “something that I actually think you are going to be very happy with.”
Asked about a federal tax credit for private-school education, Trump said he’s aware that there’s talk of it in Congress but he’s withholding judgment until the tax code is overhauled.
“I would certainly study it, I know they’re talking about it,” Trump said. “I do believe in competition in schools, by the way. That to me is a very positive thing.”