Republican Party Launches Pro-Trump Campaign in Israel

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -
A stand selling Trump campaign items in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention. (Ricky Cariot/ The Washington Post)
A stand selling Trump campaign items in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention last month. (Ricky Cariot/The Washington Post)

The Republican Party has launched its first-ever election campaign in Israel, trying to convince skeptical American-Israeli dual citizens to cast their votes for Donald Trump.

GOP activists were campaigning on Monday in Israeli cities with a high concentration of Americans, such as Yerushalayim, Modiin and Raanana, handing out stickers and buttons with the slogan “Trump — in Israel’s interest” in Hebrew and English.

Marc Zell, cochairman of Republicans Overseas Israel, says about 100,000 Israelis voted in the last presidential election, with some 85 percent going Republican.

But Trump remains a controversial candidate in Israel despite an overall pro-Israel stance. He has suggested in the past that he would be more “neutral” regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He’s also been accused of failing to stamp out anti-Semitic rhetoric among his supporters.

Zell insists the Israeli overseas vote is far more than symbolic.

“In the year 2000, we had an election where the president of the United States was decided by 537 votes in southern Florida. In Israel we had 1,500 Republican votes for George Bush in that election from southern Florida,” he said. “So the impact that we could have in a close election could be very dramatic.”