Trump supporter Mark Zell in Modiin.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
There were lines at a Modi’in shopping mall outside the first get-out-the vote event for Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump in Israel on Monday.
But the lines were for a children’s show by Israeli actress Roni Nadler, and when the parents and children saw signs for Trump, they realized they were in the wrong place and left in a hurry. Trump did not attract nearly as many people as Nadler, who is known for her role in the 2001 film The Children from Napoleon Hill.
Reporters outnumbered citizens at the highly publicized event. The overwhelming majority of those at the mall Monday were not American citizens and had no idea why there was a Trump event at their local mall.
“Trump is crazy like Hitler,” said Dan Cohen, who turned around to avoid entering the area where the Trump event was being held.
Those who did enter were accosted by Israeli teens wearing Trump hats who asked if they had American passports. After a while, the teens in the Trump hats gave up and joined the Israeli journalists smoking on the sidelines of the event.
One US citizen who passed through the event on the way to her car told reporters that she intended to vote for Trump, but not because of the event.
“Nobody convinced me to do anything,” said Devora Grufi of Yad Binyamin, who is originally from Los Angeles. “Between the two candidates, I strongly feel he is better. I don’t think [Democratic candidate] Hillary Clinton is pro-Israel. I think she says what people want to hear and Trump is the opposite. He says embarrassing things, but he is a diamond in the rough and will learn over time.”
There were blue banners bearing Trump’s name in Hebrew at the event with the slogan, “In Israel’s interests.”
Mark Zell, the head of Republicans Overseas in Israel, told reporters at the event that the 2000 presidential election – which was decided by dozens of votes in Florida – proved that under the right circumstances, Americans living in Israel could decide an American election.
But then even he admitted that he wished Florida Sen. Marco Rubio had been the Republican candidate for president and that he had to be convinced by Trump advisers not to quit his post when Trump wrapped up the nomination.
“They convinced me,” Zell said, but only reporters were there to hear him.