Israeli settlers pray for Trump re-election at biblical tomb

Israeli settlers adjust flags as they gather to show their support for U.S. President Donald Trump in the upcoming U.S. election, at the Cave of the Patriarchs, a site sacred to Jews and Muslims, in the Palestinian city of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank November 2, 2020. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

HEBRON, West Bank (Reuters) – Jewish settler leaders prayed on Monday for U.S. President Donald Trump’s re-election, citing his support for Israel, during a ceremony at a biblical tomb in the occupied West Bank that has been a flashpoint of conflict with the Palestinians.

“We have come to bless President Trump, both for the past, to thank him, but also for the future, that he succeeds in the coming election,” Yishai Fleisher, spokesman for the Hebron settlers, said at the Cave of the Patriarchs burial site.

One of those interred there, according to tradition, is Abraham, who is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims. Hoping to encourage coexistence between Jews and Palestinians, the Trump administration has named the Israeli-Arab rapprochement that it has been brokering the “Abraham Accords”.

But Trump, a Republican running against Democratic former vice president Joe Biden in Tuesday’s election, has been shunned by Palestinians for perceived bias since he broke with global consensus by recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

His administration has also softened U.S. disapproval of Israel’s settlements on land where the Palestinians want to establish a state, and which most world powers deem illegal.

A rabbi officiating at Monday’s ceremony prayed for God to secure Trump “four more years”, citing the president’s “commitment to the preservation and strengthening of the people of Israel, the state of Israel and the land of Israel”.

A Trump peace plan stirred some settler anger, however, by proposing that Palestinians get a state on 70% of the West Bank.

(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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