Report: Trump Considering Pre-Convention Israel Trip
Reports about Donald Trump planning to visit Israel before the Republican national convention in July are not dying down despite the campaign’s formal denial.
New York Magazine, citing four sources briefed on the discussions, reported on Wednesday that Trump is considering traveling to Israel sometime before the GOP convention in July. According to the report, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and associates of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson are organizing the potential trip.
Another report by Debka File says the trip could also include a tour at the southern fence along Israel’s border with Egypt.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee cites Israel as an example that walls can work in protecting a country’s borders in his key campaign pitch about building the wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. “Do walls work? They work. Just ask Israel,” Trump said during a campaign rally in Sacramento, California on Wednesday.
In his most recent book “Crippled America,” Trump wrote, “Walls work. The Israelis spent $2 million per kilometer to build a wall – which has been hugely successful in stopping terrorists from getting into the country. Ironically, some of the same people who claim we shouldn’t build a wall cite the success of Israel’s wall. While obviously we don’t face the same level of terrorist threat as our closest Middle East ally, there is no question about the value of a wall in the fight against terrorism.”
Israel recently completed a fence along the border with Egypt with the goal of stopping the influx of illegal immigrants crossing into Israel. In the first six months 2013, after the 245-mile fence was completed, only 34 illegal immigrants crossed the border, compared to 9,570 citizens of various African countries who entered Israel illegally in the first half of 2012.
Trump canceled a planned trip to Israel last December after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent out a statement rejecting his comments about banning Muslims entry to the United States. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee recently hinted that he’s planning to travel to Israel and to the United kingdom in the coming months. “I will be coming (to Israel) soon,” Trump told Israel Hayom last month.
The Guardian reported two weeks ago that Jewish Republicans are laying the groundwork for a trip to Israel in the coming weeks. The report quoted sources close to Adelson that the megadonor, who pledged to spend more than $100 million for Trump’s election, has touted the merits of a Trump trip to Israel. Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America and a close friend to Adelson, told the Guardian that Trump’s Israel advisor Jason Greenblatt informed him several weeks ago that Trump was “going to go there [Israel] before the [GOP] convention.”
The Trump campaign’s spokeswoman insisted that there’s no plan in the work, and Trump himself has been sending mixed signals about a possible trip overseas. It would not be a good idea “at this moment,” Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “I don’t think it registers with the voters, to be honest with you. What I really want to do is focus on our country and the election, but I might. I’ve been invited by numerous countries to go.”
But on Wednesday, the Trump campaign confirmed that the candidate will visit Britain on June 24 to officially open his Turnberry golf resort. This indicates that a possible trip to Israel may be in the works.
The Trump campaign and the Israeli Embassy in DC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This post was updated