Donald Trump reportedly considering Israel trip ahead of Republican convention

Brian Schaefer

(JTA) — Donald Trump is said to be planning a visit to Israel ahead of the Republican convention in July to shore up support among Jewish voters.

Four sources connected to the Trump campaign told New York magazine that the party’s presumptive presidential nominee is considering a trip in the next six weeks, though a campaign spokesperson denied the report.

Casino magnate and Republican mega donor Sheldon Adelson is reportedly helping to organize the trip with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Speculation of the visit comes in the wake of reports earlier this week that Adelson is in talks to set up a pro-Trump super PAC.

In a May interview with the Adelson-owned newspaper Yisrael Hayom, Trump announced plans to visit Israel ahead of the presidential election, though he didn’t specify a time, saying only he would arrive “soon.”

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Several weeks ago, similar stories circulated about a visit. A donor close to Adelson told The Guardian, “I’m sure Sheldon suggested the trip.”

Plans for a visit to Israel earlier in his campaign were thwarted in the wake of Trump’s controversial statement in December to ban Muslims from entering the United States. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the statement and, shortly thereafter, Trump announced he was postponing the trip, saying he didn’t want to put Netanyahu “under pressure.”

Trump then struggled to win support from Jewish Republicans, particularly after saying he would be “neutral” on Israel-Palestinian negotiations. But his March speech to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee policy conference striking traditional pro-Israel notes gave Trump a boost and helped bring Adelson into his camp.

Adelson reached out recently to members of the Republican Jewish Coalition to generate enthusiasm for Trump.

“I’m asking for your support” for Trump, Adelson wrote in an email, saying he had met with Trump and was “specifically convinced he will be a tremendous president when it comes to the safety and security of Israel.”

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