On Rosh Hashanah call, Trump urges support for his reelection

President Donald Trump implored American Jewish leaders to back his administration’s efforts to bring peace in the Middle East and support his reelection bid during an annual High Holidays conference call with rabbis and Jewish community leaders on Wednesday afternoon. 

“Whatever you can do in terms of November 3rd, it’s going to be very important because if we don’t win, Israel is in big trouble,” Trump told participants on the call, adding that if he loses reelection and Republicans lose control of the Senate, “you are going to lose control of Israel. Israel will never be the same. I don’t know if it can recover from that.” 

Trump noted the previous lack of widespread support among Jewish voters for his campaign, saying he was surprised to have only received 25% of the Jewish vote in 2016. “Here I have a son-in-law and a daughter who are Jewish, I have beautiful grandchildren that are Jewish, I have all of these incredible achievements,”” he said. “I’m amazed that it seems to be almost automatically a Democrat vote. President Obama is the worst president, I would say by far, that Israel has ever had in the United States… And yet the Democrats get 75%.”

“I hope you can do better with that,” Trump continued. “I hope you could explain to people what’s going on. We have to get more support from the Jewish people — for Israel… We have to be able, to hopefully, do well on November 3, and I hope you can get everybody out there. Otherwise, everything that we’ve done, I think, could come undone and we wouldn’t like that.”

On the call, White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner touted the administration’s record. “I can honestly say that there’s been no greater president for the Jewish people in history than Donald Trump,” Kushner said.

Trump ended the call by saying, “We really appreciate you. We love your country also.”

Trump campaign launches Jewish outreach coalition

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign will launch a Jewish outreach team on Wednesday aimed at promoting the Trump administration’s record on Israel and efforts to combat the rise in antisemitism ahead of the November presidential election.

The group, named Jewish Voices for Trump, will be co-chaired by Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, along with Republican Jewish Coalition board member Wayne Berman, former Trump White House aide Boris Epshteyn and Julie Strauss Levin, wife of TV and radio personality Mark Levin. 

Trump reportedly scolded Adelson in a phone call last month for not spending enough on his reelection. Adelson “chose not to come back at Trump,” Politico reported. Axios later reported that Adelson has signaled he is poised to spend big to support the president’s reelection.

“President Trump has fought against antisemitism in America and throughout the world while continuing to ensure the long-term success and security of the Jewish state,” Epshteyn, a senior advisor to the Trump campaign, told Jewish Insider. Citing the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and the recently signed peace accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Epshteyn said, “Trump’s record on Israel and the Middle East can be summed up in four words: promises made, promises kept.” 

A number of prominent Jewish Republicans sit on the group’s advisory board, including former Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, Houston-based GOP donor Fred Zeidman, Chairman of the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad Paul Packer, CEO of Miller Strategies Jeff Miller, Fox Paine & Company CEO Saul Fox, Boca Raton-based investor Marc Goldman, CEO of Hudson Bay Capital Sander Gerber, MizMaa Ventures co-founder Yitz Applbaum, nursing home operator Louis Scheiner, Blackstone’s Eli Miller, Mark Levenson, Dr. Jeffrey Feingold, and Haim Chera, son of the late Stanley Chera, among others.

“Never before have we seen an American president more dedicated to uplifting and protecting the Jewish people at home and around the world,” a Trump campaign official noted about the group’s launch. 

In addition to highlighting the administration’s Israel policy and the measures signed by the president to combat antisemitism, the group will also focus on Trump’s economic and trade policies. 

Epshteyn stressed that Trump’s record stands in stark contrast to the Democratic Party, which he referred to as the “radical hateful Democrats.”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls former White House colleague a ‘foulmouthed Jew’ in memoir

In Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s new book, Speaking for Myself: Faith, Freedom, and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House, the former White House press secretary describes her relationship with her former colleague Josh Raffel, whose White House communications responsibilities included the Israeli-Palestinian file.

“Josh and I hadn’t known each other before starting in the White House. He was a liberal, aggressive, foulmouthed Jew from New York City who had spent most of his career working in Hollywood. I was pretty much his total opposite,” Sanders writes in the book, obtained by Jewish Insider, in a chapter detailing what happened behind the scenes of President Donald Trump’s first visit to Saudi Arabia in 2017.  

Raffel, who also served as a spokesperson for Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, was senior vice president at Hiltzik Strategies and head of public relations at Blumhouse Productions before joining the Trump administration in 2017. He left the White House in the spring of 2018.

Sanders writes that “despite our differences, I had grown to love Josh. He is one of the funniest people I know, intensely loyal, and probably the most talented communications strategist I’ve ever worked with. Nobody in the White House could work a story better than Josh, and he was always one of the first colleagues I turned to for help on the toughest assignments.” 

Raffel told JI that Sanders “is a close friend.” 

In the book, Sanders also describes her close relationship with Ivanka. “When I was home sick with strep throat and high fever Ivanka had matzo ball soup sent over from her favorite deli,” she writes.

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