Donald Trump scraps planned visit to Israel
Published 10/12/2015 | 03:06
Donald Trump has scrapped a planned trip to Israel saying he will reschedule "at a later date after I become President of the US".
Mr Trump tweeted that he is postponing the trip, which had become problematic for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Viewed as a Republican Party supporter, Mr Netanyahu's position became risky after Mr Trump called for keeping Muslims from entering the US and making controversial comments to a Jewish group.
Mr Trump told Fox News there were many reasons he decided to hold off on the trip, among them that he did not want to put Mr Netanyahu in a difficult position. "In fact, I did a campaign ad for him, and he's a good man, but I didn't want to put him under pressure," Mr Trump said.
"I also did it because I'm in the midst of a powerful campaign that's going very well," he added.
Mr Trump has the Republican party in turmoil over his call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US following last week's mass shooting by an Islamic militant couple that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California.
Mr Netanyahu's office had said on Wednesday that he rejects Mr Trump's comments about Muslims but planned to move forward with the meeting.
The Republican presidential candidate, who has maintained a wide lead in most early polling, sparked criticism among many American Jewish people last week after speaking to a gathering of Jewish donors.
He was booed after refusing to endorse Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. The United States, like most of the international community, refuses to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and says the city's status must be resolved in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Mr Trump also made remarks that some said promoted Jewish stereotypes. "I know why you're not going to support me: you're not going to support me because I don't want your money," Mr Trump said. "You want to control your own politician."
He also said: "I'm a negotiator, like you folks."