Republicans seek Trump presidency votes in Israel

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The Israeli branch of the U.S. Republican party began a campaign on Monday (August 15) to get American voters living in Israel to cast absentee ballots in favor of Donald Trump.

The pro-Trump drive opened at a shopping mall in the central Israeli town of Modiin and will focus on areas with high concentrations of American-Israelis.

According to the Israeli chapter of the Republican party, around 300,000 Americans are eligible to vote in the November presidential elections. They live in Israel or in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Tzvika Brot, who is heading the campaign, estimated that about three-quarters of American-Israelis would support the Republican party.

A Democratic party representative in Israel disputed that estimate, telling Israel Radio the majority of Israeli and U.S. Jewish voters had always preferred the Democrats.

American Sruly Cooper, who lives in Modiin, said he thinks Donald Trump understands Israel more than Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

A poll of Jewish Israelis conducted in May found 40 percent of respondents backed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and 31 percent supported Trump. The poll didn't specify whether those who responded were eligible to vote in the U.S. election.

Trump, who has accused the administration of President Barack Obama of lackluster support for Israel, won his party's nomination for the presidency last month. He has rejected last year's nuclear deal with Iran and called for more investment in missile defense in Europe.

His views, including a vow to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and a proposal to impose a temporary ban on Muslims seeking to enter the country, have polarized the Republican party and caused widespread consternation.

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