Trump tells rally he moved embassy to Jerusalem ‘for the evangelicals’

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — President Donald Trump said he moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem “for the evangelicals.”

Trump made the statement at a campaign rally Monday at an airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

“And we moved the capital of Israel to Jerusalem. That’s for the evangelicals. You know, it’s amazing with that: The evangelicals are more excited about that than Jewish people. That’s right, it’s incredible,” Trump said as part of a nearly one-hour speech punctuated by applause.

He was referring to his decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, and the move of the U.S. Embassy there the following May. While Israel considers Jerusalem its capital, most countries do not recognize the claim and keep their embassies in Tel Aviv.

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“And the Golan Heights, don’t forget that, we did the Golan Heights. So we’ve done a lot,” Trump added, referring to his recognition in March 2019 of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed.

Trump has noted on multiple occasions that the pro-Israel evangelical community has shown the most appreciation for his Israel-related actions.

Gallup — citing the proportion of people who answer yes to the question “Would you describe yourself as ‘born-again’ or evangelical?” — says evangelicals have for decades comprised just over 40% of the population. And a 2017 poll commissioned by pro-Israel evangelicals found that the percentage of evangelicals who believe that the establishment of Israel was a fulfillment of prophecy was 80%.