Donald Trump has announced his planned trip to Israel later this month has been canceled, and will be rescheduled once he becomes “president of the United States.”
The visit, originally set for December 28 and meant to include a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, created a political standoff after the GOP frontrunner’s call Monday for a ban on Muslims entering the US.
In Netanyahu’s most recent election, comments he made regarding Arab voters drew sharp criticism from the left, and some insiders said this week that Bibi’s camp was looking for a way to cancel the sit down with Trump.
After the call for a Muslim-entry ban, Netanyahu said he “rejected Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims. Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens.”
“This racist Donald Trump should not be welcome in the Knesset,” added Zionist Union MK Omer Bar-Lev.
Today, the billionaire businessman finally responded, tweeting: “I have decided to postpone my trip to Israel and to schedule my meeting with Netanyahu at a later date after I become president of the US.”
Trump’s Muslim proposal has been widely panned by both sides of the aisle, including from nearly every prominent Jewish-American organization.
It is commonplace for Israeli leaders to meet US presidential candidates, even before the primaries. This year alone, Netanyahu has met with Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker; he met with Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign and with then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008.
The prime minister, however, does not go so far as to endorse any specific candidate or party.