In 2003, President-elect Donald Trump donated $10,000 to institutions in one of Israel’s oldest and most steadfast West Bank settlements, one of the community’s founders told an Israeli radio station on Sunday.
Yaakov “Katzele” Katz, one of the original settlers of Beit El, said on the radio that Trump had made the donation in honor of his good friend and Jewish adviser David Friedman, now Trump’s pick to be the next U.S. ambassador to Israel. Friedman, a New York lawyer, serves as president of the American Friends of Bet El Institutions.
Katz told the radio station that more than a decade ago, the settlement honored Friedman at a gala dinner in New York. It was then that Trump made his donation.
“If I would have known he would be elected president, I would have saved the check,” Katz said. He said that Friedman was like a brother to him. The two have been friends for 40 years.
The Jerusalem Post published an article Sunday showing a 2003 U.S. tax form from the Trump Foundation, which listed a $10,000 donation to American Friends of Bet El.
The group’s website also shows that financial support for the settlement came from the family of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. The website shows that his parents, Charles and Seryl Kushner, are on the fundraising organization’s founding board of trustees. The group recently held its gala fundraising event in New York.
Beit El was established in 1977 on a hill on the outskirts of the de facto Palestinian capital of Ramallah. Today, about 1,300 families live in the settlement. As well as the yeshiva, the residents there also run a pre-military academy and house Arutz Sheva.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Ruth Eglash