REPORT: Donald Trump is not only the Republican frontrunner by a large margin, but his dominance and unscripted talk has also earned him some fans in the Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
A recent Siena poll showed that Jewish voters in New York – by a 69-27 percentage point margin – view Trump as unfavorable. The poll also showed that only 13% of Jewish voters want to see Trump become president.
Nonetheless, among Orthodox Jews, the chatter around Trump, especially after his performance at the first prime time televised debate, has been largely positive.
The comments in Shul went from “Trump is smart” to “only Trump has the gutz to say what others are afraid to say out loud.”
One such vocal supporter is Larry Spiewak, a successful businessman and chairman of the Council of Jewish Organizations (COJO) of Flatbush.
“I like Trump because he speaks from his heart, from what he believes in, and he doesn’t owe anything to anybody,” Spiewak told Haaretz. “He really is a good guy. He really is a mensch if you sit down and talk to him. Is he abrasive sometimes? Yeah, but that’s what people like, that’s what people need. Why is he still ahead in the polls? Because he’s the Howard Stern of politics. He speaks the truth.”
Trump’s daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism in 2009, and her observance of Shabbat with her husband Jared Kushner (a well-known real estate developer as well as the owner and publisher of the New York Observer newspaper) is well-documented.
“I have great respect for [the Shabbat traditions], and I see Ivanka during Saturday, and from Friday evening on through Saturday night, she won’t take phone calls and they live a very interesting life,” Trump said in a recent interview with JNS. “And it’s actually a beautiful thing to watch, with Jared and Ivanka. In a very hectic life, it really becomes a very peaceful time. So there’s something very nice about it.”
Trump is also known as a strong supporter of Israel. He was honored to be the Grand Marshal at the Israeli Day Parade in 2001 and in 2004.
Last year, he donated over $100,000 to Israeli emergency rescue service United Hatzalah for the purchase of new ambucycles.
In April, before he announced his candidacy, the former reality TV star tweeted, “Nobody but Donald Trump will save Israel.”
“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” he told JNS. “The rest of them are all talk, no action. They’re politicians. I’ve been loyal to Israel from the day I was born. My father, Fred Trump, was loyal to Israel before me. The only one that’s going to give Israel the kind of support it needs is Donald Trump.”
“Israel was sold out by Kerry and Obama,” Trump said at an Iowa campaign event this Saturday. “You cannot let Iran have a nuclear weapon. You can’t have it. When they march down the street saying ‘Death to Israel. Death to the United States.’ You can’t let that happen.”