Does Donald Trump Have Jewish Roots?

U.S. President Donald Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Ben-Gurion International Airport on May 23, 2017 (Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

WASHINGTON (VosIzNeias) – Donald Trump is arguably the most pro-Israel president in U.S. history. Could it be that Trump has Jewish roots in his family? The president himself is not Jewish, nor does he have any known Jewish ancestors. His father, Fred Trump, was a Lutheran who hailed from Bavaria, although he claimed Swedish ancestry, ostensibly to help maintain Jewish tenants and business associates in the period after World War II when German ancestry was considered less favorable.

It is possible that this is also the reason for Fred’s unusual magnanimity towards Jewish causes. Fred was a successful realtor and noted philanthropist who gave generously to Jewish causes including the Long Island Jewish Hospital. Trump also donated the land for the Talmud Torah of the Beach Haven Jewish Center in Flatbush, New York. In The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a Presidential Candidate it was noted that “Fred Trump was so active in Jewish and Israeli causes that some believed that he belonged to the Jewish faith.”

Donald Trump continued the family tradition of investing in Jewish causes but extended it to Israel as well. In the 1980’s the Jewish residents of Northern Sinai were forced to relocate as a result of the peace agreement with Egypt. Trump donated to their resettlement and also gave generously to the Jews expelled from Gush Katif in 2005. More controversially, Trump donated $10,000 to American Friends of Beit El Institutions, a fund for religious institutions in Samaria, effectively taking sides in the political dispute in Israel regarding the legitimacy of Israel’s settlements in Judea and Samaria.

It is well-known that Donald Trump has been a long-time friend of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu , but it is less known that this friendship began with Fred Trump, the president’s father,  who befriended Netanyahu while he was the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations in Manhattan.

This affinity for Jews was also demonstrated by Fred Trump Jr., Donald Trump’s older brother, who joined a Jewish fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu, while attending Lehigh University, even though he was not Jewish. In a strange note, several of the fraternity brothers have been quoted as saying that while in university, Fred Jr. claimed that his father was Jewish. This was incongruous as his middle name was Christ and there were no similar claims from anyone else in the Trump clan.

Though Fred Jr.’s claim to be Jewish has never been taken seriously, the president does have a family connection to Judaism, as His daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism in 2009 before marrying Jared Kushner, an Orthodox Jew. Ivanka always stressed that her father supported her decision to convert “from day one”, adding that he has “tremendous respect” for the Jewish religion. Trump is blessed with three Jewish grandchildren. He even asked his daughter to pray for his success in the synagogue during the high holidays prior to the presidential election.

The eldest son of Donald is Donald Trump Jr. He married model Vanessa Kay Haydon who is reported to be of Jewish and Danish descent. They have 5 children.Another son of Donald, Eric Frederick Trump, married Lara Lea Yunaska under a “crystal-embellished  chuppah” i.e. a Jewish marriage canopy. Lara Lea is also reported to be Jewish and worked for a Jewish news service. Donald Trump also says the Bible is his favorite book.

Mark Zell , chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel, acknowledges this history of Trump connection to the Jews but does not believe that the president’s policies have an obvious source.

“Trump grew up in New York which is heavily Jewish and it is clear that he had a lot of Jewish friends and associates,” Zell told website Breaking Israel News (BIN). “He grew up in this environment. He has been unfairly criticized by the left-wing for being anti-Semitic which is complete sophistry. Tragically, many people in the American Jewish community have serious identity problems which lead them to criticize the president despite how pro-Israel policies.”

“It isn’t necessary to dig in order to find some personal or vested interest for the president to be pro-Jewish and pro-Israel,” Zell said. “It is sad that this is the case, that this is what people try to do. Most politicians, especially Jewish, are cautious in their support of Israel. Donald Trump is not. He is not cautious in the least. He is true to his beliefs and his world view, part of which is that Israel is, from an objective point of view, an important ally and an asset to the security of the United States. It is clear to him that the Jewish people are entitled to a secure state. That recognition from a president is unprecedented. But what is more amazing is that he acts on this belief, unabashedly and unequivocally.”


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