A strong US-Israel relationship is based on deep, shared values, Republican candidate for Senator from Ohio J.D. Vance said in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
“I will be as strong an advocate for the US-Israel relationship as anyone,” Vance said, calling those ties “an expression of deeper things, of cultural affinity and shared heritage and values.”
Vance spoke to The Jerusalem Post at a VIP gathering on the sidelines the CPAC Israel event, sponsored by the American conservative activist group, as well as the Tel Aviv International Salon and right-wing publisher Shibboleth.
“[Jerusalem] is the most important cultural heritage site in the world. If Israel didn’t control this land, I would never understand this experience.”J.D. Vance
Vance's connection to Israel
The senate candidate found a connection between Israel and one of the causes he has touted in the US, traditional family values, pointing out in his brief remarks at the side event that Israel is unique in the West in having a birthrate above the rate of replacement.
“I will be as strong an advocate for the US-Israel relationship as anyone.”J.D. Vance
“You’re hewing to your traditions and you care enough about this country to care about it continuing to exist,” Vance said.
Vance, who had arrived in Israel less than 24 hours before the event, said he came to learn.
“A lot of foreign policy issues run through this country, whether it’s the Iran deal or the Abraham Accords,” he said. “This is for me to get smarter about the issues.”
Vance said that he agreed with US conservative positions in the region, such as that “the Iran deal was a disaster, Israel is our most important ally and [former US president Donald] Trump was right to move the [embassy] to Jerusalem.”
“I got it intellectually, but emotionally, I didn’t realize,” he said. “[Jerusalem] is the most important cultural heritage site in the world. If Israel didn’t control this land, I would never understand this experience.”
Vance visited the City of David, including the Pilgrims Path, the historic pathway to the Temple, and pointed out that the Palestinians opposed its excavation.
“Jesus Christ almost certainly walked that path and we wouldn’t know about it if [PLO leader Yasser] Arafat or whoever came after him was in control. That is the stuff that really inspires civilizations to build themselves,” he said.
When it comes to rising antisemitism in the US, Vance said that “America remains one of the great places to live if you are Jewish. The question now is how to reverse the negative trend of the last years.”
Vance’s answer was “to aggressively stamp out and prosecute crimes.”
Asked if he thinks the rise in antisemitism is tied to progressive policies on crime, Vance said that “antisemitism is a particular kind of crime. You have to enforce the law. If you beat up a Jew and don’t face consequences, the attacks will continue and get worse.”