Donald Trump enjoys widespread support within the Hasidic community in the US, according to experts interviewed by VICE news.
Jacob Kornbluh, a New York-based reporter for Jewish Insider, told the news outlet that there is “no question support for Trump is widespread” among Hasidim, and that the majority of Hasidic voters he’s spoken to have said they plan on supporting Trump.
Unlike the majority of US Jews, who are exceedingly liberal, nearly two-thirds of haredi Jews say they are politically conservative, while 57 percent of Orthodox US Jews identify with or lean towards the Republican party, according to a Pew survey of Jewish Americans.
There have not been any polls of Hasidic voters ahead of the primary election, reported VICE, but the fact that Trump has done well thus far among evangelical Christians in the primary states is a fairly good indicator of how Hasidim will vote. Since 2000, haredim in New York have voted in national elections in extremely similar patterns to how evangelical Christians voted, Sam Abrams, a political scientist at Stanford University who studies the politics of American Jewish voters, told the news site.
“Among my circle of friends, at least 90 percent [support] Trump,” it quoted Yanky Lichtman, who lives in Lakewood, New Jersey, as saying. “I like the way how he says it. He tells you straight what he thinks and that’s a big plus.”
Lichtman added that he and many of his friends, who are also supporting Trump, are “fed up with the establishment on both sides. [We] gave them a chance and nothing worked.”
David Gross, of Brooklyn, said “when Trump decided to run I got excited.”
“He is honest, an everyday person,” Gross said. “A lot of people I know agree with him, but they just don’t want to say it.”
Like Brooklyn’s Gross, Lichtman says that if Trump is not the nominee he probably won’t vote in the general election at all.
Yossi Gestetner, a Hasidic political consultant and commentator, pointed out that “Trump has a long history of being friendly to people in the Jewish community.” He also has a personal connection to the Jewish community through daughter Ivanka, who converted to Orthodox Judaism in 2009 and is married to a high-profile Orthodox real estate businessman, Jared Kushner.
And yet, many Hasidim and those who closely track the community noted that the support for Trump may not actually translate into votes. Gestetner agreed there is genuine interest in Trump but he was skeptical whether Hasidim will actually vote for Trump in the New York primary, on April 19.