U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney has closed his trip to Israel by telling donors about the spiritual connection he felt in Jerusalem, according to a report by the Voice of America news service.
Romney spoke to a group of about 40 people Monday at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel. The breakfast event was expected to bring in more than $1 million for his campaign.
“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.
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.