Following in father Fred’s footsteps, Donald Trump, who donated generously to resettle the exiled Jews of Gush Katif, Gaza, has given generously to Jewish and Israeli causes for well over 40 years.
– Chronology of donations & awards starting in the 1970’s.
By Dan Feinreich
NEW YORK — After seeing so many Jews say such horrible things about him, I decided to look further into Trump’s background to learn more about his feelings toward the Jews. This is what I learned:
Let’s start with the biggest influence in Donald Trump’s life, his father. Fred C. Trump welcomed plenty of Jewish tenants to his properties, and, perhaps, as a result of these relationships, Fred became a generous donor to Jewish and Israeli causes.
Fred made generous donations to the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, supported Israel bonds, and served as the treasurer of an Israeli benefit concert. He was so active in Jewish causes that some believed that he belonged to the Jewish faith.
In 1956, Fred Trump also donated land to the Talmud Torah of the Beach Haven Jewish Center in Flatbush, New York. The Center is still active today and offers programs for the youth and elderly, as well as an active synagogue. A plaque in the Beach Haven building reads: “Fred C. Trump, Humanitarian: A Sagacious Man Person Deserving of Every Plaudit and Tribute given by Our Community”
During the 1980’s, Fred Trump became friends with the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations in Manhattan at the time, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Donald Trump continued his father’s pattern of donating to Jewish & Israeli causes. In 1976, Trump received the Humanitarian Award from Jewish National Health, a Denver hospital doing research/treatment in respiratory & related disorders.
In March 1983, Trump was awarded the prestigious “Tree of Life” award by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), an organization that raises money to finance large projects in Israel.The award is the highest humanitarian award that honors individuals and families “in appreciation of their outstanding community involvement, dedication to the cause of American-Israeli friendship, and devotion to peace and the security of human life.”
JNF officials said that Trump was part of a consortium of donors involved in various projects in Israel, including financing a playground in the town of Yokneam and another in Sufa, a kibbutz in southern Israel.
Trump also donated to help build new infrastructure in the Israeli Negev for Jews from the Sinai that were forced to evacuate under the terms of Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt in 1979.
Trump’s donations were used to build greenhouses, homes, and roads for evacuees. A plaque bearing Trump’s name in English and Hebrew appears on a wall in Moshav Dekel, in the Eshkol region, to honor all the donors that contributed to the resettlement.
In 2003, Trump was part of a group of New York donors who gave to JNF to finance the construction of a reservoir in the western Negev. In 2005, Trump also contributed toward the creation of new communities for Israelis were evacuated from the Gaza Strip.
According to former JNF chairman Effie Stenzler, the Israeli govt requested assistance from Jewish organizations, like JNF, to help pay the costs of resettlement. JNF “sought donations in the U.S. and one of them was Trump, who is considered to be an avowed supporter of Israel,” Stenzler said.
According to TheGivingTrump.com,in 1985, Trump was Chairman of JNF’s Annual Real Estate Divisions Dinner Dance where over $700K was raised, the largest fundraising affair ever for any JNF event.
July 4, 1984 Trump Attended the 1984 American Friends of Hebrew University Annual Sports Award Fundraising Dinner to Memorialize the 11 Murdered Israeli Athletes During the 1972 Munich Olympics.
In the 1990’s, Trump tried to convert his Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach, FL into a country club, but the town council placed restrictions on his club. He filed a lawsuit claiming the council was discriminating against his club, partly because his club was open to Jews and blacks,while other established clubs excluded Jews and blacks. “The episode shook the Palm Beach establishment, unaccustomed to having its linen, dirty or not, aired publicly.” Trump had “elevated the issue of discriminatory policies at social clubs.”
Abe Foxman of the ADL, said Trump “put the light on Palm Beach. Not on the beauty & glitter, but on its seamier side of discrimination. It had an impact.” He said he received calls from Jewish residents telling how Palm Beach clubs were changing & began to admit Jewish members.
In 2000, “Trump was recognized by UJA Federation of New York’s Hospitality Division for being an industry leader. He received the Hotel & Real Estate Visionary of the Century Award. He gave the org a $25,000 donation in 2012 and another $15,000 in 2014.”
In addition, “Trump gave a $10,000 donation to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in 2003, according to spokeswoman Lisa Safir, and a gift in 2012 for general operating expenses amounting to $100,000, an amount which puts Trump’s name on the museum’s wall of contributors.”
He has also been a regular contributor to Friends of Israel Defense Forces, according to a spokesman. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is a member of that organization’s national board.
A spokesman for the ADL said Trump had donated a total of $56,000 to the ADL since the 1970’s.
“In 2014, Trump donated $3,750 to the Institute for Jewish Humanities; $5,000 to the Jewish Community Relations Council of NY; $2,500 to the Gurwin Jewish Geriatric Center; and $18,000 to the American Friends of the Jaffa Institute, a nonprofit child welfare agency in Israel.”
In 2003, Trump donated $10,000 to American Friends of Beit El Institutions, a fund for religious institutions in the Jewish community of Beit El in Samaria. Trump made the donation in honor of his lawyer, David Friedman, who served as its President.
In 2004, Trump was chosen to be the grand marshal of the Salute to Israel Parade,which was the largest single gathering in support of Israel, with an estimated 1 million spectators, 40 floats, 16 marching bands and dozens of entertainers.
In 2006, Trump announced plans to build “Trump Tower Israel” in Ramat Gan, a city on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. The tower, the tallest in Israel when completed, was supposed to be a 70 story luxury apartment building.
Trump also had plans to build the first Trump luxury hotel in Netanya. In 2008, Trump sent his daughter, Ivanka, to Israel to study the local real estate market. In 2013, Trump announced plans to build Israel’s first Trump golf course in Ashkelon,which would have included a resort village, convention hall, country club, and commercial shops.
The Israeli govt released a file in 2017, called the “Trump file,” which detailed Trump’s visit to Israel in 1989. Trump was interested in visiting Israel because he was considering several business deals.
Although all these attempts to bring the Trump brand name to Israel fell through, for various reasons,Ivankawas quoted in 2016 as saying, “we will definitely continue looking into luxury residence and hotels in Israel in the future.”
In 2013, Trump appeared in a video from his Manhattan office endorsing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “My name is Donald Trump and I’m a big fan of Israel.” “Frankly, a strong prime minister is a strong Israel.”
In 2014, Trump pledged to donate more than $100,000 to the Israeli emergency rescue service, United Hatzalah, for the purchase of four ambulances that each cost $26,000, according to the Algemeiner Journal, a Jewish newspaper based in New York.
In 2015, Trump received the Liberty Award from The Algemeiner for his contributions to U.S.-Israel relations. Trump accepted the award at “The Algemeiner’s ‘Jewish 100’ Gala” in NYC and was introduced by his daughter Ivanka.
At that event, Trump said “I have a Jewish daughter. This wasn’t in the plan, but I‘m very glad it happened.” He also added, “We love Israel. We will fight for Israel 100 percent, 1000 percent. It will be there forever.”
In late 2016, Ivanka visited a Florida synagogue and spoke to the audience about her father’s reaction to her conversion to Judaism in 2009. “There was no question, there was no argument,” she said, adding that her father supported her “from day one.”
So this was a summary of Donald Trump’s involvement with the Jewish community and with Israel before he became President. His record of friendship, generosity and affection for the Jewish community in the US and in Israel is stunning and extraordinary.
Yet, how has the American Jewish community responded to him? Rather than express gratitude and appreciation for all Trump has done on behalf of Jewish causes, the reaction of American Jews toward Trump was, and continues to be vile, vicious, virulent, venomous and vitriolic.
The response from American Jews was to cherry pick isolated quotes, look for “dog whistles” in campaign ads and interpret them all in the worst possible way, while completely ignoring all his other statements/actions where he expressed tremendous support for the Jewish people.
If this is how US Jews respond to someone who has done so much for Jewish causes, no future President will have any incentive to do the same. More than 75% of Israeli Jews consider Trump a great friend and perhaps the best friend Jews have ever had as President. Are they wrong?
After reviewing the history of Trump’s relationship with the Jewish community, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the main reason Trump has been the most pro-Jewish, pro-Israel President in US history is precisely because…that’s who he is.
Dan Feinreich is a writer for the pro-Trump organization called “Jews Choose Trump.”
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‘as a light unto the nations’