Mayor of West Bank settlement invites Donald Trump for visit

Ma’aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel is not the first settler leader to reach out to Trump.

October 6, 2016 00:50
2 minute read.
Benny Kashriel

Ma'aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel pointing in the direction of E1. (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)


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Ma’aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel has added US Republican presidential contender Donald Trump to the list of American dignitaries he has invited to visit his city.

“I believe that if he [Trump] comes to Israel, he will visit Ma’aleh Adumim or at the very least meet with me,” Kashriel told The Jerusalem Post.

Located just outside of Jerusalem, Ma’aleh Adumim is home to over 37,000 people and is the third-largest settlement in the West Bank.

Kashriel is not the first settler leader to reach out to Trump.

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan met with a top Trump adviser, David Friedman, in New York last month.

Friedman promised Dagan that Trump would not allow Jews to be expelled from Judea and Samaria.

Dagan has also called on Americans in Israel to vote for Trump.

Kashriel said that his invitation was not an endorsement and that he does not plan to intervene in American presidential politics by publicly backing one candidate over the other.

But he does believe that because of Trump’s platform with regard to Israel, he could be open to visiting Judea and Samaria, particularly before the election.

In communicating with Trump, Kashriel skipped over email and WhatsApp, preferring to send a typewritten letter which was written on September 7 and personally delivered to the Trump campaign in the United States.

Kashriel heard that the letter was received just before Rosh Hashana, on October 3.

“Firstly, I would like to wish you the best of luck with the upcoming election for president of the United States,” Kashriel wrote to Trump.

“I have been watching the electoral race with much anticipation and am aware of the intensity and complexity of your candidacy."

“I would like to invite you to visit the city of Ma’aleh Adumim which is located in the Judea and Samaria area,” wrote Kashriel.

“It would be my pleasure to take you on a personal and informative tour of the region, giving you an up-close and realistic view of these settlements, not as portrayed by the media."

“I would also like to include a visit to the community’s industrial zone, where 350 factories employ over 3,500 Palestinian workers on a daily basis."

“In this way you would witness the unique and positive work relationship between the Palestinian and Jewish workers."

“It would be an honor to host you in our city, enabling you to gain an objective perspective of the communities over the Green Line,” Kashriel wrote.

It’s not the first time that Kashriel has attempted to invite a high-level American official to visit his city. He has in the past sent such letters to US President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state.

Kashriel said he had also invited US Ambassador Dan Shapiro to visit.

None of the above – including Shapiro, who lives in Herzliya – has agreed to visit, Kashriel said.

Attorney Marc Zell, who is the co-chairman of the Israel chapter of Republicans Abroad, said that he does not believe Trump plans to visit Israel before the election and that he has no information about such a trip.

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