Exclusive: Jerusalem Trump rally morphs into closed event aimed at US Christians

The Republican candidate will speak for only two minutes.

October 23, 2016 02:33
1 minute read.

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2016 Policy Conference. (photo credit: SAUL LOEB / AFP)

The Republican Party announced with great fanfare last week that it would hold a rally in Jerusalem this week, featuring addresses by presidential candidate Donald Trump and his running-mate Mike Pence.

But by Saturday night, it became apparent that the event would be something completely different.

The Jerusalem Post has learned that instead of a rally with thousands of Israelis showing support for Trump, it will be closed to the public, Trump will speak by tape for only two minutes, and Pence’s taped speech will be only four.

Organizers of the event said it was not for Americans in Israel voting in the US election, but for American Evangelicals watching at home on Christian television networks.

“They aren’t choosing between [Democratic candidate] Hillary [Clinton] and Trump, but between Trump and staying at home,” a source involved in planning the event said. “Holding this near Jerusalem’s Old City walls and speaking against UNESCO couldn’t hurt.”

The only attendees will be Republican officials in Israel and activists and volunteers of the Trump campaign. The event is intended as a thank you to the volunteers, who have been sent to shopping malls to find Americans who have not yet registered to vote.

After the Aish HaTorah yeshiva rejected a request to host the event on its exclusive rooftop overlooking the Western Wall and Temple Mount, it was decided that it would be held in the Harp of David restaurant, further away from holy sites.

The head of Republicans Abroad Israel Marc Zell will open the event by welcoming the crowd at the event, which will be limited to an hour and a quarter. A well-known Christian Evangelical speaker will be among the featured speakers at the event, but not Christians United for Israel chairman John Hagee.

A source involved in planning the event denied that Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat would be a speaker. He revealed that former CIA chief James Woolsey turned down an invitation to speak, due to a scheduling conflict.

Another source said former ambassador to the UN John Bolton, a fiery speaker and passionate Israel supporter, also declined an invite to speak.

“The event is not nearly what we hoped it was going to be or what it should be,” the source said.

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