Pastor Mario Bramnick, president of the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition, met with Jason Greenblatt, co-chair of the Israel Advisory Committee to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, for the first time three months ago to discuss evangelical Christians' support for Israel.
What emerged was an alliance that is likely to continue well beyond the 2016 presidential election—regardless of who wins on Tuesday.
"I shared with him a Pew Research poll that showed 82 percent of evangelicals support Israel based on their faith and biblical understanding that God gave the land of Israel to his chosen people, the Jews," Bramnick said. "I told him it's very important to evangelicals, in terms of how we vote."
They soon found an alignment of their priorities that Bramnick said is absolute.
Greenblatt, who is an Orthodox Jew, said he and fellow attorney David Friedman were handpicked by Trump to serve as his Israel advisers because of their mutual love for Israel. But what he was hearing from Bramnick three months ago was entirely new to him.
"Sadly, I didn't know about evangelicals' love for Israel," he said. "I have been amazed at how supportive they are ... it's been heartening to me. When I come home at night, I tell my wife it's like with relatives because they feel the same way about Israel."
The document that Greenblatt and Friedman released Wednesday, which outlines Trump's policies with regard to Israel, has been a work in progress throughout the course of the campaign, they said. It was added to whenever events warranted an addition—such as the recent efforts by UNESCO and others to erase the Judeo-Christian historical ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
Bramnick, once he became acquainted with the Trump team, helped—as did other evangelicals—with the drafting process. Many of those policies were also in alignment with the "Five Guiding Principles" advanced by another group—the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem—and its affiliate, American Christian Leaders for Israel.
The Trump team also gave its full support during the Republican National Convention to restore elements of the party platform that had been removed in 2012. Now, the party supports the strongest pro-Israel policies in its history—all of which was done with the GOP nominee's full support.
But the liberal mainstream media has been carrying the water for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on this issue throughout the campaign. Capitalizing on a distorted interpretation of a speech Trump made early in the campaign in which he used the term "neutral," the media and Clinton surrogates speaking to the Jewish community have effectively branded him as not being fully supportive of Israel.
"This is an ongoing pattern of the liberal press, spinning the failed Obama/Clinton policies, which have not been as supportive of Israel—in fact, you could say they have been very anti-Israel," Greenblatt said. "But when you examine the Obama/Clinton record, they have no choice but to spin and throw mud. If they would instead look at what [Clinton] has said and done as secretary of state, you see the two candidates are diametrically opposed when it comes to Israel."
The liberal anti-Trump bias isn't just prevalent in American media, but in Israel's, as well. In response to a Jerusalem Post exit poll of absentee American voters from Israel released on Thursday, Greenblatt said the numbers reported for Trump are likely lower than what they should be. He said his sources told him the poll was conducted via Internet, and as a result, it doesn't represent the votes of elderly and Orthodox voters well, it at all.
Trump won the exit poll, but it showed only 30,000 absentee ballots had been cast. The Post reported this was because voters were turned off by the two candidates' personalities. This would be lower than most Republicans and political observers would expect.
"We will know for sure soon enough, but not until after the election," Greenblatt said.
After the election, however, both men said they were hopeful the conversation about Israel could continue, regardless of who wins. Both agreed it would be good to have greater coordination among pro-Israel groups.
"We share the same love of Israel as a state, and as a people," Greenblatt said. "We must fight hard to ensure Israel is treated fairly. We can only do that by working together."
Bramnick concurred, saying the various pro-Israel groups must unite to offer a stronger voice.
"Israel is our only democratic ally in a sea of radical regimes," he said. "I'm very proud to say Israel has a true friend in Donald Trump ... [he] will do whatever it takes to do the right thing, even if it's not politically correct in places like the U.N.
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