The billionaire Republican frontrunner for president, Donald Trump, attempted to woo Jewish voters Thursday by saying he planned soon to meet Israel's prime minister in the holy land.
“I’m leaving for Israel in a very short period of time,” he told the Jewish Republican Coalition in Washington DC during a campaign stop in which he sought to burnish his Jewish ties.
His daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism upon her marriage, as a result is no longer reachable on Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath which is observed from Friday night to Saturday, he said.
But despite warm applause and laughter, the tycoon was booed when he stopped short of calling Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel, saying he first wanted to meet Benjamin Netanyahu.
He also parroted stereotypes of Jews, likening himself to many in the room by presenting himself as a good negotiator and the ultimate deal maker.
“With us, we have a deal instinct, a lot of us,” he said, claiming that he could put his talents to good use in brokering an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal after decades of conflict.
“Is there anybody that doesn’t re-negotiate deals in this room?” he said to laughs. “Perhaps more than any room I’ve ever spoken to. Maybe more,” he added to more laughs and applause.
He appeared to make a further crass stereotype about Jews by alluding to his personal wealth and public refusal to accept money from party donors.
“You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money,” he told the audience. “You want to control your own politicians, that’s fine.”
He said Israel had “given a lot” in the name of peace, and was applauded for saying the Jewish state had not always been given a lot of credit for that.
“I don’t know whether or not they want to go that final step, and that’s going to be up to them, but Israel has not been given the credit that they deserve for what they’ve done.”
He later told reporters that his meeting with the Israeli premier had been scheduled, but he refused to divulge the exact date.