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GOP in Israel chief says local enthusiasm for Trump overwhelming

The head of the Israel chapter of Republicans Overseas expressed similar optimism regarding his party’s performance in today’s election.

Marc Zell tells The Times of Israel that Republican headquarters in DC believe that the party is “on its way to victory, and a very sizeable victory.” However, he acknowledges that it’s still too early to know and references the 2016 election, which didn’t turn in Trump’s favor until much later in the night.

Marc Zell, co-chair of Republicans Overseas Israel, visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on November 9, 2016, a day after Donald Trump won the 2016 US election. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Zell says turnout in Israel was overwhelming, with roughly 150,000 ballots cast in total. He speculates that 80% of those votes were for US President Donald Trump. he has consistently cited that number as the level of support for Trump in Israel, though a recent survey found it somewhat lower. He says enthusiasm among Republicans in Israel is so high that some tried to cast their absentee ballots on Tuesday, even though it was past the deadline.

Zell says the turnout spike included people who hadn’t voted ever or in many decades, large numbers of ultra-Orthodox Jews and Israel-born US citizens voters who don’t typically vote in US elections.

“Trump re-scripted the whole political dynamic, taking the focus off of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and placing it on the real threat which is Iran,” says Zell, who initially opposed Trump.

As Zell speaks, Fox News can be heard in the background talking about Biden’s lead in Ohio, a state that no Republican candidate has won the presidency without. Upon hearing the news, Zell says he has to go and ends the phone call.

— Jacob Magid

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