BY Chris Hannas – U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney has closed his trip to Israel by telling donors about the spiritual connection he felt in Jerusalem.
“I come to this place, therefore, with a sense of profound humility, as I look around here at great people who’ve accomplished a great thing, and also a sense of spiritual connection, acknowledging the hand of providence in establishing this place and making it a holy city,” Romney said.
His comments came a day after he declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. The remarks angered Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.
Monday’s fundraiser included billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson and other major Republican donors.
After the event, Romney went to Poland, where he met with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk before a scheduled visit with former president Lech Walesa later in the day.
Romney is also expected to attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Westerplatte memorial, the site of a Nazi attack that launched the Second World War.
While in Israel, Romney spoke about the country’s economy, highlighting the gap between its gross domestic product and that of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He said there is a “dramatically stark difference in economic vitality.”
The World Bank issued a report last week saying Israeli restrictions are “major constraints” to Palestinian economic activity. The report said the Palestinian Authority is unlikely to become fiscally stable until there is a political settlement in the Middle East.
“Growth will not be sustainable until Palestinians have access to resources and are allowed to move freely,” the report said.
Romney also compared the amount of money Israel and the United States spend on health care, saying the U.S. must find ways to provide care to more people while lowering costs.