(By Avrumi Weinberger). Like Republicans across the country, Satmar Republicans are fed up with the failed policies of the Obama administration. The burdens placed on small businesses by overregulation, higher taxes and Obamacare are felt here, too. Parents struggling to make ends meet dream of a president who will be a crusader for school choice. The administration’s hostility to religious liberty sends a chill down the spine of every religious Jewish voter, Republican or Democrat. So naturally, many Jewish Republicans are turning towards Ted Cruz.
Ted Cruz achieved national renown for his efforts to defund Obamacare before it launched in 2014, leading to a government shutdown. He has been a staunch defender of religious liberty during his term as Solicitor General of Texas where he successfully defended the state’s right to display the Ten Commandments in front of the state capital. He has also called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, one of the largest abortion providers in the country which receives taxpayer funding of over half a billion dollars a year.
On all of these issues, Donald Trump sounds more like Hillary Clinton. Trump has said that he would enact universal healthcare, which would amount to a vast expansion of Obamacare. He has also said that Planned Parenthood should not be defunded and that they do wonderful things. And on other core social issues, he shares more of the values of a New York liberal than that of a conservative Republican.
So, for Jewish Republicans, Ted Cruz is a natural fit. He speaks our language, understands our needs, and also, personally reflects many of our values.
However, for Satmar Republicans, there is a lingering discomfort about his strong advocacy for the State of Israel. From a religious perspective, we believe Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is in violation of the Three Oaths that bound the Jewish people so long as we’re in Exile. We also believe that not everything the Israeli government does is beyond reproach. Like every human construct, the Israeli system of government and the execution thereof is bound to be flawed. As a result, some of Cruz’s pro-Israel rhetoric may be off-putting.
However, upon deeper reflection, one could argue that a pro-Israel candidate is actually a better choice for Satmar Republicans than a neutral or a hostile one. For of the Three Oaths mentioned above, the one with the most significant practical implications is the one that forbids the Jewish people to arouse the anger of the nations while we are in Exile.
This oath has sadly been violated many times by members of the Israeli government since its founding. But most of these instances transpired precisely because there was a neutral or hostile administration. The most recent and memorable example of this was when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress against the will of the Obama administration. Such instances will be sharply diminished if we have a president that sees eye to eye with Israel. With a president that is unapologetically committed to Israel, you will not see the countless stories we see today about tensions between the White House and the prime minister. You will not have to cringe when Israel is criticized by the State Department because under a Cruz administration that will not happen. The anger of the anti-Israel community will shift from Israel and the Jews towards the Cruz administration. Indeed, a Cruz administration would be the best-case scenario for the Satmar community.
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of JP.
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