The leader of the Israeli branch of the Republican Party visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City Wednesday afternoon to thank God for Donald Trump’s upset victory in the presidential election.
Wearing suit and tie and a white “Make America Great Again” baseball cap, the co-chair of Republicans Overseas Israel donned phylacteries, danced with ultra-Orthodox worshipers and recited verses of thanksgiving from Psalms. He also wrote a note, apparently containing a wish, and placed it into the ancient stones of the wall.
“I came here simply because I wanted to express my feeling of gratitude to the Holy One, Blessed be He, for what he gave us, for what he gave Donald Trump and [vice-president-elect] Mike Pence and the entire team, also in Israel and across the world,” Marc Zell told reporters.
“I am in the clouds, really,” he said, visibly moved at Trump’s surprising victory. “I believed it would happen, but when it actually came true, I didn’t understand what’s going on here. It’s something supernatural.”
Zell, who grew up in Washington DC before immigrating to Israel decades ago, initially opposed a Trump candidacy. But once the Manhattan billionaire secured the GOP’s presidential nomination, Zell became an ardent supporter, launching a large effort to get American-Israelis to vote for him.
The President-elect’s first order of business should be a recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Zell said. Trump should then move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — as he pledged during the campaign — and shut down the US consulate-general in Jerusalem, which he said serves as a de facto embassy to the Palestine Liberation Organization. “This is unacceptable,” Zell said.
Furthermore, the US needs to start implementing a “policy of not getting involved again in internal affairs of the State of Israel, including building in its capital Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria and the Golan,” he said, using a biblical term for the West Bank.
Zell has never met Trump in person, but said he hoped to do so soon, since Trump “promised that his first visit abroad would include Israel,” Zell said.
Abe Katsman, a legal counsel for Republicans Overseas Israel, told The Times of Israel that widespread panic over Trump’s election is overblown.
The businessman’s victory “shows that America is ready to address its serious problems with runaway spending, unserious national security and immigration policies, economic growth, and restoring foreign policy that favors American allies and is tough on American enemies,” Katsman said.
“Israel will be respected and understood by the US much better under Trump and his pro-Israel team than when Hillary [Clinton] and [President Barack] Obama ran foreign policy, and Iran and the Islamists will be dealt with more seriously.”