Settlers to pray for Trump in Hebron

Head of Republicans in Israel to attend event at Tomb of the Patriarchs; Efrat settlement head advises against Israelis trying to sway vote

An Israeli supporter of US President Donald Trump waves a campaign flag at a rally for his re-election, on a promenade overlooking Jerusalem, October 27, 2020. (Maya Alleruzzo/AP)
An Israeli supporter of US President Donald Trump waves a campaign flag at a rally for his re-election, on a promenade overlooking Jerusalem, October 27, 2020. (Maya Alleruzzo/AP)

Settler leaders in Hebron were planning on holding a special prayer rally Monday urging divine intervention to ensure victory for US President Donald Trump in Tuesday’s general election.

The prayer rally was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a revered shrine split between Jews and Muslims in the flashpoint West Bank city.

The vote between Donald Trump and Joe Biden “will to a large extent impact the future of the State of Israel,” said Yochai Damri, the head of the Har Hevron Regional Council, who organized the prayer gathering. “We owe President Trump a debt of gratitude for his support of the State of Israel, the Land of Israel, and the settlements over the past four years.”

“The polls are very close, and we are meeting at the Cave of the Patriarchs to pray for his success. During his term as President, the State of Israel and the settlements in particular have received unprecedented support,” he added.

The Tomb of the Patriarchs, in the West Bank town of Hebron, June 22, 2017. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

According to the statement Marc Zell, the head of Republicans Overseas Israel, who is also a settler, will participate in the prayer group.

Israeli settlers have been outspoken supporters of Trump for his policies that appear to support Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank. In addition, he has earned accolades for his administration’s decisions to recognize Jerusalem as capital and Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

However, many settler leaders, Damri included, rejected Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan over the fact that it included the possibility of the creation of a Palestinian state on parts of the West Bank not annexed by Israel. The reaction was reportedly met by anger in the White House.

Oded Revivi, the influential head of the Efrat settlement who was one of the settler leaders who embraced the Trump plan, said he would not participate in the rally out of respect for the US political process.

“President Trump has proven over four years that he is a big friend of Israel and during his term ties between Israel and the US have grown stronger. However, just as we warn off foreign influences from internal debates and elections … so it is not correct for the leadership to express a stance on the US elections,” he tweeted.

In another sign of settler support for Trump, a video put out by Shomron Regional Council head Yossi Dagan Sunday showed him and Palestinian Mohammed Masoud, who bills himself as a reformed terrorist, urging support for Trump’s re-election. In the English-language video, the two credited Trump with a decrease in terror attacks in Israel over the last four years.

The settlements are thought to have a disproportionately large number of Americans; a survey in 2015 found that some 15 percent, or 60,000 settlers in the West Bank held US citizenship.

Illustrative: A new housing complex, where former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee laid bricks at a housing complex in the West Bank settlement of Efrat on August 1, 2018. (Jacob Magid/Times of Israel/File)

A poll published by Channel 12 news Friday showed 54% percent of Israelis favor Trump, compared to 21% who favor Biden, and 25% who were undecided or did not know. No methodology or margin of error was provided by Channel 12 for the survey.

Backdropped by a billboard supporting President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, people wave flags on a bridge during a protest against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. (AP/Oded Balilty)

Those numbers, while stark fall somewhat below Zell’s earlier estimation that upwards of 75% of Israelis back Trump. A convoy of cars that rallied outside the US embassy in Jerusalem last week drew about two dozen people.

While Trump is popular with the Israeli public, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s close relationship with the president appears to be deepening a divide with American Jews. It has also led to fears of Israel being branded a GOP bastion and losing bipartisan support in Washington.

In the US, the vast majority of Jews vote Democrat, though Orthodox Jews have begun to lean Republican.

read more: