'Trump understands Israelis must make the choice'

Head of Republicans in Israel rips Obama for 'smoke and mirrors' deal with Netanyahu, says Trump will finally move US embassy to Jerusalem.

Eliran Aharon,

Marc Zell
Marc Zell
Eliran Aharon

Following the vice presidential debate this Tuesday and days before the second presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Republicans in Israel chief Marc Zell spoke with Arutz Sheva regarding the upcoming election and its impact on the State of Israel.

Despite initial misgivings over Trump’s candidacy during the primary, Zell – who had previously backed Florida Senator Marco Rubio – says he’s come to respect the Republican nominee’s leadership skill and intuitive understanding of the American public.

"I think he's the candidate of the hour,” said Zell at a debate between himself and Democrat Sheldon Schorer organized by The Israeli Arts and Sciences Academy.

“He has an uncanny ability to identify issues that are pertinent and important to the public. Even though he may not know all the answers at first, he knows how to get the answers. He knows how to pick the people and form the teams that are necessary in order to solve these problems. That I did not know about him at the start of this campaign."

Zell downplayed Trump’s recent decline in the polls, arguing that he had tapped into a strong political current ignored by much of the mainstream.

"He has a way of using words that may not be all that eloquent. But as I said, he put his finger on the issue. Americans are concerned about immigration. They're concerned about it for a lot of reasons. They're concerned about it because 11 million people came into the United States illegally. That's unprecedented. The current president and candidate Clinton want to turn these people overnight into citizens."

"This is not an acceptable thing. Borders matter. This is the point that Trump has introduced into this campaign. Globalism has failed; borders matter; nation-states matter; immigration laws matter and they must be enforced. And his idea is right-on."

To illustrate the point, Zell added a personal anecdote.

"My grandparents wanted to come to the United States in the 1920s. And that's when they put a prohibition on any more Jews from Eastern Europe. They waited 10 years in a foreign country - Cuba - learned Spanish. My mother was born in Havana, Cuba. They waited 10 years before they got their visa. They came and they built a life. That's what people expect the immigration laws to do. They're supposed to be fair. If you don't come in legally, you don't have the right to be a citizen and stay."

Zell also spoke out on the new Memorandum of Understanding signed between the White House and Israeli government, laying out American defense aid over the next decade. Zell ridiculed claims made by the Obama administration and its surrogates that the new agreement is unprecedented in terms of aid to Israel, noting that it simply factored in other existing forms of aid.

"This agreement... is a lot of smoke and mirrors. It replaced an earlier agreement - 10-year agreement - where the United States was guaranteeing that Israel would receive over the 10-year period over $31 billion in aid. But at the same time Congress was allocating another $600 million every year to help us build our missile defense system - like Iron Dome. So what Obama did was... spin. He took the $600 million per year, which is for 10 years is $6 billion, added it to the $31 billion that was already in place and came to something close to $38 billion. Nothing has changed there in the amount of money. What has changed is that Obama forced Israel to accept restrictions on further funding... even if Congress were to offer Israel additional money - even if Israel didn't ask for it - Israel has undertaken not to take it. We're going to be facing an Iranian nuclear threat, even according to Obama's timetable in eight or nine years, and we're not going to be able to respond to that? That's silly, that's stupid, and it’s also deceitful."

Zell contrasted Trump’s willingness to allow Israel to manage its own internal affairs, with the policy of past presidents regarding Jewish construction in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.

"Trump has stated explicitly that Jerusalem is the only and undivided capital of the State of Israel, a necessary consequence is that the embassy has to move here. Every president since Bill Clinton has waived moving the embassy here under US law. I think if anybody is going to change that is Donald Trump."

"Trump has stated that the United States has no business telling Israel how to run its internal affairs, and that includes building in Jerusalem, building in Judea, building in Samaria, building in the Golan Heights. Those are issues for the Israeli government and the Israeli people to decide for themselves. The United States has no business - nor other countries for that matter - coming in and trying to interfere and tell the Israelis what to do. This is an extraordinary concept, because every administration since the Six Day War, Republican or Democrat have come in and said to Israel, 'this is what you have to do, two-state solution, two-state solution.' We, in the Republican Party, wiped out that word out - that whole phrase - out of our platform on Israel. It's no longer there. That's not to say we're against a two-state solution, but we want to open our eyes to the reality and look at what's happening on the ground and not simply tell the people, Israelis and Arabs, how to settle their affairs."




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