Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally at Erie Insurance Arena on August 12, 2016 in Erie, Pennsylvania. (AFP photo)
The US Republican Party has launched an election campaign to encourage Jewish Americans who live in Israel to vote for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
The pro-Trump movement in Israel, whose slogan is "in Israel's interest," has grown rapidly, particularly among young Jewish American expatriates "fed up with the elites," said Michal Adar, who is originally from Atlanta, Georgia.
“There’s been a lot of disappointment in [President Barack] Obama, which has translated into support for Trump,” Adar said Monday. She said Trump’s blunt style is “very Israeli in that it’s very direct and very relevant to the kinds of things Israelis are also talking about: Islamic terror, economic problems, our need for real defense.”
Adar works with other Republican Party organizations in distributing information and organizing registration centers to help American citizens vote in November’s presidential election.
Republicans Abroad Israel estimates that 100,000 Israelis voted in the last presidential election, with 85 percent supporting Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
According to an Israel Democracy Institute survey released last March, 61 percent of Israelis see Trump as “moderately” or “very” friendly to Israel.
The poll found that 34 percent of Israelis considered a Republican presidential candidate would be pro-Israel, compared to 28 percent who believed the same about a Democratic candidate.
Trump has been ambiguous about whether he would recognize occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital. He sparked concern among some right-wing Jewish Americans in February, when he said he would be “neutral” in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
"Democrats have a far less ambitious effort underway to court American voters here," said Sheldon Schorer, an activist with the Israeli chapter of Democrats Abroad.
Schorer said, however, that the Democrats have an advantage because “the Republicans have an especially unattractive candidate this year.”
Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II. America's military assistance to Israel has amounted to $124.3 billion since it began in 1962, according to a recent congressional report.