Netanyahu responds to Trump: Israel respects all religions

By AFP
Published: December 10, 2015
Email
Trump is due to meet the Israeli Prime Minister at talks later this month. PHOTO: AP

Trump is due to meet the Israeli Prime Minister at talks later this month. PHOTO: AP

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday sided with other international leaders against US Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump saying he does not “endorse his views.”

The Israeli Prime Minister’s statement said, “The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens.”

“At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world,” he added.

Donald Trump calls for barring Muslims from entering US

US presidential candidate Donald Trump will visit Israel to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid fierce criticism over his call for Muslims to be barred from entering the United States.

A government official said Wednesday the meeting with the billionaire Republican presidential frontrunner, set for December 28, was in line with Netanyahu’s practice of meeting candidates visiting Israel.

“Regarding the meeting with Mr Trump… the prime minister decided long ago to agree to meet all candidates from all parties who request to meet him, without implying support for any candidate.”

US presidential candidates often visit Israel while campaigning as part of efforts to shore up their foreign policy credentials.

Muslim proposal prompts calls to ban Trump from UK, Israel

Beyond that, Netanyahu has regularly expressed support for Republicans in the United States, and firm backing for Israel has become a decisive issue for the party.

But the Trump visit has already stirred strong opposition in Israel, with a range of lawmakers opposing it because of his comments.

Thirty-seven MPs, including two from Netanyahu’s governing coalition, have signed a letter calling on the right-wing prime minister to cancel the meeting and condemn those comments.

Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, was among those speaking out.

“Those who rejoice in Trump’s comments do not know enough about Jewish history to understand what happens when we begin down the road of hatred toward foreigners, contempt for the law and religious discrimination,” he wrote on Facebook.

Trump comments on Muslims ‘wrong’: British government

The visit will also come amid a wave of Palestinian gun, knife and car-ramming attacks.

Israel’s population includes more than a million Muslims out of a total of roughly eight million people. The vast majority of Palestinians are also Muslim.

Trump’s comments have led to harsh criticism both at home and worldwide, with White House spokesperson Josh Earnest saying they disqualified him from becoming president.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, a leading Gulf retailer has stopped selling products from the brand owned by Trump.

Trump, 69, made his proposal after a Muslim couple, one of whom was an immigrant from Pakistan, massacred 14 people in California.

He urged a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Go to hell’: Trump under fire over Muslim ban call

“We have no choice,” Trump said, saying militants want to kill Americans.

Trump has also been criticised by some Jews over an appearance at the Jewish Republican Coalition in Washington earlier this month.

The tycoon was booed when he stopped short of calling Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel, saying he first wanted to meet Netanyahu.

He also parroted stereotypes of Jews, likening himself to many in the room by presenting himself as a good negotiator and the ultimate deal maker.

He appeared to make a further crass stereotype about Jews by alluding to his personal wealth and public refusal to accept money from party donors.

Trump’s Muslim comments disqualify him from presidency: White House

“You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money,” he told the audience. “You want to control your own politicians, that’s fine.”

Netanyahu faced accusations of racism himself earlier this year.

In a polling-day bid to energise right-wing voters in March, the prime minister warned that Arab Israelis were going to the polls “in droves” — a comment for which he later apologised.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (4)

  • Dajjal
    Dec 10, 2015 - 5:01PM

    Israel Respects all Religions, provided its adherents don’t live on Land that the Israelis want…Recommend

  • Pete Cornwell
    Dec 10, 2015 - 6:44PM

    So facing the disapproval of Netanyahu, the Donald decides to pack up his toys and go home. His foreign policy credentials are growing bigger every day. He just got schooled on freedom of religion by the Israeli P.M., an ominous sign if there ever was one.Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Dec 10, 2015 - 7:20PM

    “Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, was among those speaking out.

    “Those who rejoice in Trump’s comments do not know enough about Jewish history to understand what happens when we begin down the road of hatred toward foreigners, contempt for the law and religious discrimination,” he wrote on Facebook.”

    After reading this, my admiration and respect for the Jews have gone up several folds. Muslims hate Jews everywhere in the world, but Jews are the ones standing up with the muslims.

    Having said this, I also think that Trump, with his bold statements, has brought about a realization in muslims and made muslims to think and act differently than what they have been doing for so long. In this, Trump has already had his triumph.Recommend

  • Dec 11, 2015 - 3:17AM

    @Dajjal: Well said. Couldn’t agree with you more. Recommend

More in World