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US elections in Israel: Democrats and Republicans set sights on dual nationals

A cyclist rides past a poster of Donald and Melania Trump in Tel Aviv, Israel.
A cyclist rides past a poster of Donald and Melania Trump in Tel Aviv, Israel. © Reuters / France 24
2 min

As the US presidential election nears, Democrat and Republican campaigners in Israel are hoping to win votes from the country's vast population of American-Israeli dual citizens, who could help make a difference in who wins the race for the White House.

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In Tel Aviv, Republican campaigners have been out in force in recent days, putting up a billboard and posters in support of US President Donald Trump.

"People in the United states who are many, many millions, who love Israel and they know how much the administration has done for Israel in these past four years, they want to see people here in Israel saying thank you," Marc Zell, chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel, told Reuters.

"That is what this sign over there says behind me, it says, we owe a gratitude to Donald Trump for all the things he's done, for Israel, for America and indeed for the world."

Trump delighted many Israelis by recognising Jerusalem as its capital in 2017 and moving the US embassy there from Tel Aviv and some 71 percent of Israelis support the US president, according to a recent Pew survey.

But Democrats are also mobilising to win over American-Israeli voters, including arranging discounts for courier services for those voting by mail.

"The overwhelming majority of the Democratic Party including Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have a decades-long record of being staunchly pro-Israel, unquestionably pro-Israel, it's a pro-Israel that stems from a deep understanding of Israel's geostrategic role," Democrat campaigner Hadass Tesher told Reuters.

As many as 300,000 American-Israelis are eligible to vote in the election, according to some estimates and many are registered in key swing states, such as Florida and Pennsylvania meaning their votes could make a difference in the outcome of the election.

"I think that the voters in Israel will have a big impact on the election, particularly in several state and districts, and voters overseas in general have a big impact," said Heather Stone, chair of Democrats Abroad Israel.

"We've seen increased interest in voting and registrations are up threefold and membership in Democrats Abroad has doubled and we believe that it is looking like we are going to be the margin of victory in several places."

 

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