Trump volunteers court US voters in Israel, especially from swing states

(JTA) — In an unusual move, volunteers for Donald Trump have launched a campaign appealing specifically to U.S. voters living in Israel, notably those from swing states.

Under the slogan “The Israeli Interest,” Trump supporters in the past few weeks have launched a website and a Facebook page before heading out with banners to shopping malls across the country, The Times of Israel reported. They visited cities with a high concentration of U.S. voters, including Jerusalem, Modiin, Raanana and Beit Shemesh.

Local volunteers will distribute Trump publicity materials.

The volunteers have permission from the Republican candidate’s headquarters in the United States.

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

Hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens are eligible to vote in the November election, Israel’s Channel 10 reported. The Trump volunteers will target Americans who hail from swing states such as Florida and Pennsylvania. According to the Republicans, there are approximately 30,000 eligible voters in Israel from such states.

The manager of the Trump campaign in Israel, Zvika Brot, told Army Radio Monday that while “Israeli voters don’t agree with some of Trump’s statements, just like Hillary Clinton voters don’t agree with some of her statements, they agree 100 percent on the subject they care most about, which is Israel.”

Brot said “there is no more pro-Israel candidate in these elections” than Trump and “the Democrats can continue saying that the Clinton family are Israel’s greatest friends. I believe we are going to accomplish something good for Israel.”

According to an exit poll conducted by another get-out-the-vote group, iVote Israel, 85 percent of American voters in Israel cast their ballots for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, in the 2012 election.

Trump’s Israel campaign focuses primarily on his ostensibly pro-Israel platform. It also mentions his Jewish daughter, Ivanka, and Jewish grandchildren.

A senior adviser to Trump met with officials from the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem last week and was given a diplomatic-security briefing by officials.

Trump, whose campaign has been plagued by inconsistencies on many subjects, has made contradictory statements with regard to Israel. During the primaries he claimed that he would remain neutral on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, refusing to assign blame to either side.

The billionaire real estate magnate has questioned Israel’s commitment to peace while suggesting the Jewish state does not have a negotiating partner in the Palestinians. He has also called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a good friend.”

At a presidential candidates’ forum hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition last December, Trump said, “I don’t know that Israel has the commitment to make it, and I don’t know that the other side has the commitment to make it.”