Report: Adelson encouraging Trump to visit Israel

Allies of Donald Trump reportedly laying the groundwork for a visit to Israel backed by Sheldon Adelson.

Nitsan Keidar,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Conservative and big-money allies of Donald Trump are laying the groundwork for him to visit Israel this summer, an idea backed by Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, The Guardian reported on Saturday.

According to the report, the Jewish-American billionaire recently indicated in a meeting with the candidate that he would provide about $100 million to help Trump win the presidency.

Three conservative sources with strong ties to Adelson told the British newspaper that the multibillionaire has touted the merits of a Trump trip to Israel, and planning has begun, though nothing has been finalized.

“I’m sure Sheldon suggested the trip,” said one conservative donor close to Adelson.

Mort Klein, who runs the Zionist Organization of America and is close to Adelson, told The Guardian that Trump’s point man for Israel, Jason Greenblatt, informed him several weeks ago that Trump was “going to go there [Israel] before the [GOP] convention” which begins on 18 July.

Trump confirmed earlier this month that he plans to travel to Israel sometime after formally receiving the nomination at the Republican convention in July, and before general elections in November, though he did not provide further details.

Trump has already canceled one trip in December after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu publicly scolded the candidate for his proposed temporary ban on Muslims coming to the U.S. But since that tiff, Trump has indicated several times that he planned to go to Israel, noted The Guardian.

Now, Adelson and some members of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) are lending a hand to arrange a Trump visit similar to one that Mitt Romney made in the early summer of 2012 when he met Netanyahu, sources told the newspaper. During the visit, Adelson and several other wealthy RJC board members flew over to attend a major fundraiser that benefited Romney.

“There are no plans for a visit at this time,” said Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, in a statement. But Hicks declined to say whether there had been discussions about – or early planning for – an Israel trip this summer.

While the $100m Adelson reportedly plans to spend to help Trump will represent the bulk of his 2016 election giving, he is also likely to provide tens of millions more to help GOP congressional candidates, as he has done in recent elections, three sources close to Adelson told The Guardian.

A political adviser to Adelson did not respond to requests for comment on his plans to help congressional candidates or where his pro-Trump funding would go.

Adelson recently published an op-ed in The Washington Post in which he officially declared his support for Trump, and warned Americans that failure to elect Trump will result in a “third term” of President Barack Obama in the form of Hillary Clinton.

He later sent an e-mail to members of the RJC, asking them to back Trump as well.

"Like many of you, I do not agree with him on every issue," Adelson wrote in the email, obtained by The Associated Press. "However, I will not sit idly by and let Hillary Clinton become the next president. The consequences to our country, and Israel, are far too great to take that risk."