Trump Rejects Visit to Israel Before Election: 'I'm Not Traditional'

Republican presidential candidate says he already has good relationship with Netanyahu.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at Trump Doral golf course in Miami, Florida, U.S., July 27, 2016.
Carlo Allegri, Reuters

Donald Trump brushed off the idea of making a trip to Israel before Election Day.

The Republican presidential candidate insisted at a Wednesday press conference that he would not follow in the footsteps of other White House hopefuls who have journeyed to Israel, saying at a press conference: “I’m not traditional.”

In May, Trump said he was planning a trip to Israel, and as recently as last month campaign sources told New York Magazine that the candidate was planning an Israel trip prior to the Republican National Convention.

However, Trump has not visited Israel since he declared his candidacy last year.

At the press conference, Trump argued that while he would like to go to Israel, he already has a strong relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Before moving on to other questions, Trump emphasized that he stands with Israel “100%.”

However, Trump canceled a trip to Israel to meet with Netanyahu last December after the Israeli Prime Minister publicly condemned Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims. Instead, Trump tweeted that he would meet with Netanyahu “after I become President.”

In March, a survey revealed strong support for Trump among Israeli Jews, with one in four saying they would vote for him. But another poll by Israel’s Channel 2 last month showed Israeli support of Trump trailing that of Clinton by seven points.

GOP candidate Mitt Romney traveled to Israel in 2012 as the Republican party candidate as part of a relationship-building trip with foreign leaders like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Accompanied by megadonor Sheldon Adelson, who has yet to financially back Trump as promised, Romney attended fundraisers filled with wealthy American-Israelis in addition to meeting with Netanyahu and dining at the official residence.

For more stories, go to Sign up for the Forward’s daily newsletter at