Israeli settlers and their American evangelical supporters are among the invitees to Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration on January 20.
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Yehudah Glick, a Brooklyn-born rabbi and member of Likud, confirmed that he will attend the inauguration with fellow Likud lawmaker Sharren Haskel. They will be joined by Atlanta-born Israeli rabbi Jeremy Gimpel, who spoke about his intention to attend on a radio show on the Land of Israel Network. Gimpel will bring his teenage son, a Trump fan, as a present for his bar mitzvah.
Glick is a well-known agitator for Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount who survived an assassination attempt by a Palestinian assailant for his activism in 2014. Israel’s security apparatus considers Glick’s project a threat to the fragile status quo at the Jewish and Muslim holy site.
Glick, who lives in the West Bank settlement of Otniel, told the Forward it was a “privilege” to attend Trump’s inauguration. He said that Trump and vice president-elect Mike Pence have “definitely expressed a very warm relationship toward Israel,” though he had no predictions about the incoming administration’s policy toward Israel.
Haskel, 32, is Likud’s youngest lawmaker. Originally from Canada, she is a one-time peace activist whose political views veered right after serving in the West Bank as a border policewoman during the Second Intifada. She advocates for lesbian and gay rights and marijuana legalization in the Israeli parliament.
Gimpel, a onetime Knesset candidate for Habayit Hayehudi, has close ties to the American evangelical pro-Israel movement. He founded the Land of Israel Network, a TV and online network that advertises itself as “G-d’s PR agency.” The programming advocates for Jewish sovereignty in the West Bank.
Gimpel said that he is being “sent from God with a message from Zion” to the inauguration on the Land of Israel Network radio interview
Haskel and Gimpel did not respond to immediate requests for comment.
The three are part of a delegation from HaYovel, an American evangelical group that brings Christian volunteers to pick grapes and olives in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Evangelicals, who are among Israel’s biggest American supporters, helped Trump to clinch the presidency in spite of predictions that they would be put off by his crude behavior in the campaign. Some 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for him. An email to Trump’s press office for this story was not immediately returned.
Trump’s pick for Israel envoy, David Friedman, has close ties to the settlers and is the head of American Friends of Beit El Institutions, which raises American money for Beit El, a settlement near Ramallah. He has advocated for Israel’s annexation of portions of the West Bank.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not invited to and will not attend the inauguration, in spite of earlier reports that Trump’s advisers were courting Netanyahu to attend.