Donald Trump says he will visit Israel ‘soon’


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Donald Trump said he would visit Israel soon and dodged a question about whether the United States should continue defense assistance to the Jewish state in an interview with an Israeli newspaper.

“I’ll be there soon,” the presumptive Republican nominee told Israel Hayom in an interview posted Wednesday when asked about reports he would visit the country.

Israel Hayom is a free newspaper owned by billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a Republican mega-donor who has said he will back Trump in the November election.

Trump, a real estate magnate, did not say whether he would visit before the Nov. 8 election. An email to the campaign spokesman, Hope Hicks, was unanswered.

He planned to visit in December, but canceled after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the candidate’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

Asked whether the U.S. should continue paying for defense assistance to Israel, he said only “We are going to protect Israel.”

Trump has said Israel should pay for U.S. defense assistance. Israel and the United States are currently negotiating an extension of the agreement under which the United States gives Israel $3 billion annually in defense assistance.

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