Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
With months to go before the Presidential election, almost anything can still happen with the unconventional candidates on the ticket.
Even if it appears to be a long shot at this point, should it come down to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders against Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, American Jewry will be faced with a daunting dilemma: whether to vote for a progressive Jew or an Evangelical Christian for president.
For American Jews, it has long been the highest aspiration to finally see one of our own sitting in the Oval Office, the ultimate sign of having made it in America. What could be better for the Jews than having a member of the tribe in the White House? Yet, in the upcoming election, I certainly won’t be voting for the first Jewish candidate, since, as a religious Zionist, I sadly have come to realize that I have more in common with an Evangelical Christian than one of my own.
While Bernie Sanders enjoys bagels and lox as much as any good Jew and even toiled in the fields of an Israeli kibbutz, his hostility towards the Jewish State is frightening.
Sanders represents the secular, liberal Jewish community that has bought the Palestinian narrative hook, line and sinker and whose misguided “Jewish values” present a dangerous threat to the welfare of Israel.
On the other side of the aisle stands Ted Cruz, whose blood runs blue and white almost as much as it does red, white and blue. You can’t get more pro-Israel than this Texas son of an Evangelical pastor, who has promised that his first item of business as President will be to move America’s embassy to Jerusalem.
As someone dedicated to teaching Christian Zionists about Israel through my websites Israel365.com, BreakingIsraelNews.
com, and TheIsraelBible.com, I have had many heartfelt conversations with Evangelicals.
On a regular basis, my Christian friends have impressed me with their Biblically- rooted love for the Jewish State, which has led so many of them to honor the God, the people and the land of Israel. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that today’s Christian Zionists are not our grandparents’ goyim.
Rejecting centuries of Christian anti-Semitism, tens of millions of Evangelicals around the world have become staunch in their support for Israel without the associated proselytizing that Jews have been legitimately concerned about. Their devotion to Israel runs deep. Their tourists come to visit even when Jewish groups cancel their flights for security concerns. While you may not see many buildings around Jerusalem named for Christian donors, millions are in fact contributing to Israeli charities, without strings attached. Christian Zionist philanthropists are not demanding plaques on the wall nor conversations about Jesus.
The possible presidential showdown between an Evangelical Christian and a progressive Jew raises profound questions for American Jewish voters who may not have noticed how far both communities have shifted until now. With secular Jewry moving away from Israel and Evangelical Christianity moving towards it, it’s time for the Jewish community to take action.
First, we must call out those Jews who have taken their knee-jerk loyalty towards liberal movements too far and distance ourselves from progressive causes that undermine our own well-being, such as BDS. Second, we must do more to cultivate meaningful relationships with Christian Zionists built upon our common Biblical heritage and appreciation for Israel. It is time for the Jewish community to get beyond the stereotypes that reject all Christians who “either want to kill us or convert us”, and get to know what makes our Evangelical allies tick. When we get to know them better, we will realize just how much we have in common.
In the end, whether the election comes down to Sanders and Cruz or not, the question it raises for Jewish voters will have implications lasting far beyond any fouryear presidential term. In light of the realignment of liberal Jews away from Israel and Evangelical Christians towards it, I for one, would put my faith and fate in the hands of a Christian Zionist president over a progressive Jewish one.
The writer is the founder of Israel365.com, BreakingIsraelNews.com and TheIsraelBible.
com, websites that educate Christian Zionists about the Biblical significance of the Land of Israel.