Settler leader calls on US citizens in Israel to vote for Trump

Republicans set up field offices in West Bank to register eligible voters.

September 7, 2016 02:57
2 minute read.
An Israeli soldier walks past members of the US Republican party's election campaign team in Israel,

An Israeli soldier walks past members of the US Republican party's election campaign team in Israel, who are holding a banner in support of Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump, during a campaign aimed at potential American voters living in Israel, near a mall in Modi'in, Israel.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A prominent settler leader has called on American citizens in Israel to vote for Republican candidate Donald Trump in the United States elections this November.

“I urge all eligible [American] voters [in Israel] to register and vote for the candidate [Trump] who can significantly help strengthen of the State of Israel, as well improve the ties between us and the US,” Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said Monday night during a visit to a Republican field office in the Karnei Shomron settlement.

The event was part of the largest ever voter registration drive by the Israel chapter of Republicans Abroad, also known as Republicans Overseas, which in the last month has opened campaign offices in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Modi’in.

In addition, Republicans Abroad plan to have rotating field offices throughout the country, including in Judea and Samaria, of which the first opened Monday night in a private home.

They also are likely to open a fourth campaign office in the Gush Etzion region, which has a high concentration of Americans. If they do, it would be the first such Republican campaign office in a West Bank settlement.

The party’s campaign manager in Israel, Tzvika Brot, said the primary goal was to register as many Americans to vote as possible, including those from the Democratic party, though they obviously would prefer to see people vote for Trump.

“We want to be wherever the American voters are and help them with the registration,” he said, adding that by next week, there would be another such office in the Kfar Tapuah settlement in the Samaria region.

“We want to remind everyone that they need to register now if they want to vote later,” said Republicans Abroad co-chair and attorney Marc Zell, who along with Brot, estimated that 85 percent of US voters in Israel would support Trump. They noted that Israel was the only country with such a clear majority of Republicans.

This voter registration drive is targeted particularly at second-generation US citizens living in Israel, the children of Americans who made aliya in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Republicans Abroad has prepared Hebrew campaign material to make it easier for voters for whom English is not their first language, Brot said.

Dagan – even though he is not American – has lent his support, one of the sole settler leaders to do so.

The Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria has not taken a position on the US elections.

Ma’aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel said he did not believe Israeli politicians should be involved in American politics, just as he opposed American interference in Israeli elections.

But former Samaria Regional Council leader Gershon Mesika was very active abroad, both in Europe and the US building relations with politicians, and Dagan has followed in his footstep.

After visiting the pro-Trump event, Mesika left for Washington DC to seek support in the US for the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria.

The regional councils of Samaria, Binyamin and Gush Etzion have all hosted American politicians.

Last year, one of the former Republican candidates for president, Mike Huckabee, held a fund-raiser in Shiloh at which he called on all Republican candidates to visit Israel as part of their campaign for the White House.

Both Mitt Romney and Senator John McCain visited Israel during their campaigns. Trump, as yet, has not.

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