By COLlive reporter
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump hosting a meeting with Orthodox Jewish news outlets at the Trump Tower in New York City, Thursday.
Representing COLlive.com was publisher Mica Soffer and photographer Itzik Roytman.
Trump Water and kosher cookies and fruit were served before the people present sat around a rectangular black marble table to hear from the billionaire who has dominated the 2016 election.
Trump showed up in a suit and navy tie and headed directly to the head of the table facing some 30 reporters equipped with recorders and even pen and papers.
He was introduced by Yossi Gestetner who organized the meeting and founded the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC) which counters defamation and generalization of the Orthodox Jewish community in the media.
Trump opened the meeting with strong statements in support of Israel and attacking the current administration of President Barack Obama, as relayed in past speeches and interviews.
“I’m going to be very strong for Israel,” he stated. “Israel is our best ally in the Middle East. Obama has been tremendously disloyal to the Middle East.”
He went on to attack the controversial nuclear deal with Iran which he once said he won’t repeal. “The Iran deal is one of the worst things ever happened , it is a disgrace,” Trump said.
But when push comes to shove –when questions were asked– Trump offered general answers or generally avoided them all together.
Responding to a question about Israel’s security, Trump did defend Israel’s right to defend itself against its enemies. “When missiles are being shot into your country, I don’t know what ‘disproportionate force’ is supposed to mean,” Trump said.
“Israel is being attacked to an extent that is very rarely seen, and so obviously you have to use very strong force,” he continued.
The GOP frontrunner was responding to a question about recent remarks made by Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton during separate meetings with the editorial board of the New York Daily News. The former, after inflating the death-toll figures of innocent Palestinian civilians killed during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, accused Israel of using “disproportionate force;” the latter called Israeli settlements “unhelpful.”
With regard to the issue of settlements, Trump deferred to his executive vice president and chief legal officer Jason Greenblatt, an Orthodox Jew whom he summoned from another part of the building to assist him on Israel-related matters.
Trump is hoping to win a majority of votes in New York’s Republican primary election this Tuesday, April 19. At stake are 95 crucial delegates.
According to a new poll published in the New York Post, Trump holds a shrinking — but still double-digit — national lead over primary pursuer Texas Senator Ted Cruz. He’s well ahead of Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Both of his rivals visited the Orthodox Jewish community in recent days. Cruz baked Matzah with children at the Chabad Neshama Center in Brighton Beach and Kasich visited a Judaica store in Boro Park.
Most Orthodox Jewish residents of New York are registered Democrats.