Tags: Trump Administration | GOP2016 | Ted Cruz | ted cruz | campaign | israel | orthodox jews

Ted Cruz Courts Orthodox Jews as Voters, Donors

Ted Cruz Courts Orthodox Jews as Voters, Donors
(Harrison Mcclary/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Thursday, 16 April 2015 10:01 AM

As he seeks to close the fundraising gap between himself and his fellow Republican presidential aspirants, Ted Cruz is reaching out to members of the Orthodox Jewish community for their support and donations by stressing his support for Israel, reports Politico.

"I share a great many values with the Jewish community and the Orthodox community. Chief among them is a passionate dedication to strengthening our friendship and alliance with the nation of Israel," he told Politico in a phone interview.

The first-term Texas senator's strong defense of Israel has earned him support with the Jewish community. Several prominent members attended a New York City mega-fundraiser held hours after Cruz announced the launch of his presidential campaign, including Phil Rosen, a partner at the law firm of Weil Gotshal and a top bundler for Mitt Romney, according to Jewish Insider.

"Sen. Cruz started earlier than everyone else, so he's probably had more contact in the community than anyone else. Many of the candidates have begun to recognize that the Orthodox Jewish community probably fits more closely to the Republican conservative viewpoint than many other groups," Rosen told Politico.

"And I think, for the first time, in the Romney campaign, people like me were able to raise a tremendous amount of money from the Orthodox community because of that closeness of the mindset on issues like Israel, and Israel's safety and security," Rosen said.

Among American Jews, approximately 30 percent say they feel "very attached" to Israel, while 39 percent said they were "somewhat attached," according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey.

"The Orthodox segment is more open to supporting Republicans, and some individuals in the Orthodox community are active in political fundraising contributions," says Nathan Diament of the Orthodox Union, who told Politico that Cruz has been the most "proactive" of the 2016 contenders in engaging Orthodox Jews.

Particularly in light of recent tensions between the Obama administration and the Israeli government, support for Israel holds both electoral and financial potential for Cruz and his fellow Republicans.

For the first time in more than a decade, reports The New York Times, Republicans raised more money during the 2014 election cycle from individuals and political action committees deemed pro-Israel than their Democratic counterparts.

Cruz's outspoken defense of Israel, however, has also generated some controversy. Most notably, he delivered the keynote speech to the nonprofit organization In Defense of Christians (IDC) in September 2014 and was booed off stage when he told the crowd — mostly Middle Eastern — that Christians "have no greater ally" than Israel, reports Time magazine.

"Tonight, we are all united in defense of Christians. Tonight, we are all united in defense of people of good faith, who are standing together against those who would persecute and murder those who dare disagree with their religious teachings. Those who hate Israel hate America. Those who hate Jews hate Christians," he said.

Before leaving the stage, Cruz scolded those who booed, telling them that "if you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you."

Another speaker at the event, James Zogby of the Arab American Institute, told Time magazine he thought Cruz's remarks were "bizarre," adding that the Texas senator "cared not a bit for the reality and the sensitivities of Middle East Christians.

"If policymakers want to help Christians, they will first listen to them, before they try to lecture them. Having an 'I love Israel, and I don't care about the rest of the Arab world' mindset may work in U.S. politics, but it's why we are in the mess we are in across the region," Zogby said.

Watch the video here.

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Ted Cruz, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, is reaching out to members of the Orthodox Jewish community for their support and donations by stressing his support for Israel, reports Politico.
ted cruz, campaign, israel, orthodox jews, fundraising
Thursday, 16 April 2015 10:01 AM
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