Donald Trump has announced that his planned trip to Israel has been postponed until “after I become President.”
Israel was facing calls to scrap a planned visit to the country by Donald Trump after the controversial businessman turned presidential candidate called for Muslims to be banned from entering America.
Trump, who remains the frontrunner in the race for the Republican nomination for the White House, cancelled scheduled talks with Benjamin Netanyahu on 28 December during a trip that was planned, before the current controversy.
The announcement that the trip has been “postponed” comes after condemnation of his call for a “total shutdown” on Muslims entering the US until “our country’s representatives can figure out what’s going on”.
The candidate cited polls suggested deep hatred of the country among some Muslims. Zionist Union MK Omer Bar-Lev tweeted: “This racist Donald Trump should not be welcome in the Knesset.”
Concern was ratcheted up yesterday when The Jerusalem Post reported that Trump, a strong supporter of Israel and of Netanyahu, is considering visiting the Temple Mount.
Many in Israel suggest that false claims about Israel’s intention of altering the status quo there contributed to sparking the current wave of stabbings. Netanyahu said he “rejected Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims. Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens”.
Meretz Party legislator Issawi Frej urged Interior Minister Silvan Shalom to block the billionaire from entering Israel.
He said: “Just as it is obvious Israel wouldn’t allow an anti-Semite to use it to advance its political goals, so too should be the case of Trump. He is not only a racist but a danger to the free world.”
Faith Matters founder Fiyaz Mughal said: “Trump’s comments are vile. He resurrects in the minds of many… that we must remain vigilant against bigotry and prejudice.”