By Rabbi Shloime Pollak
Ted Cruz is simply the best – by far – on our top two issues: Israel’s security, and school choice.
We send politicians and “Shtadlanim” (special pleaders/lobbyists) to Washington and state capitals with the hope that they will advocate on our behalf. We hope they can lobby the powers-that-be, to be sensitive to our community’s concerns……imagine having a President, that unapologetically advocates for our values……himself!!
Foreign Policy: Israel
The most concerning foreign policy issue to our community- and it’s not even close– is the safety and security of our brothers and sisters, “the six million Jews” living in Eretz Yisrael.
Caroline Glick has publicly stated, that Israel has no greater friend than Senator Ted Cruz. That is an understatement. Senator Cruz has been defending and FIGHTING against Israel’s many mortal enemies for a very long time.
A Cruz presidency would be the most pro-Israel presidency IN HISTORY. Do you think that this is an exaggeration? You won’t, after you hear what happened, when newly elected Senator Ted Cruz was invited to give the keynote address at the Gala-dinner in Washington D.C….
“In Defense of Christians”- is a non-profit group created to raise awareness of the plight of Christians in the middle east at the hands of Muslims. They invited the freshly elected, outspoken, and articulate Senator, to be their main speaker. As a devout Evangelical Christian, and a passionate voice for his Christian brethren the world over, Cruz was a perfect choice, and the Senator accepted. Cruz would later say, that he had been informed on the day of the dinner, that there will be Jew haters at the event…… Did he temper his remarks, or pander to the audience, like any politician would? NO!…
“Tonight”, began Cruz, “we are all united in defense of Christians. Tonight, we are all united in defense of JEWS.” Boos began…. Did that stop the courageous LEADER? of course not!!… Two sentences later Ted Cruz announced in no uncertain terms, “Christians have no greater ally than Israel.” The boos resumed as did cries of “just stop it!!!”……
Calmly, the statesman paused collecting his thoughts, and without a hint of anger or trace of confrontation said, “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jewish people, then I will not stand with you. Good Night and G-d bless you.” Cruz, then, smiled, waved to crowd and walked off the stage.
Had Senator Cruz been just another “pro-Israel” politician, he would have rationalized, that the dinner was about an important issue, and simply refrained from mentioning the two words that drove those anti-Semitic bigots crazy [Jews and Israel] …BUT NOT CRUZ! If you don’t stand with the freedom loving Jews of Israel, Senator Cruz wants to have nothing to do with you!
Lest you think this was some publicity stunt, on behalf of the Senator to garner Jewish votes, consider the way this story was reported at the time (and is still reported as such, online) “Cruz Gets Booed Off Stage”!! It was treated as a great humiliation and failure on Cruz’s part, and he wasn’t given any credit in the media for being principled, and standing up for an ally- The State of Israel… But, WE must recognize that we truly have a one-of-a-kind friend, in Senator Ted Cruz.
In his short time in the Senate, Cruz led many efforts on Israel’s behalf. He successfully led the effort to cancel Obama’s anti-Semitic travel ban, during the Gaza war. He also shone a bright light on the plight of the three kidnapped Kedoshim by giving an impassioned speech on the floor of the senate next to a big picture of the three of them. Most critically, against the catastrophic Iranian “deal”, there is not one person- Jew or Gentile- that has worked, advocated, campaigned, or argued as much as Cruz has…
As for promises for the future, Cruz has given his word- which has so far been as good as gold-to rip-up the Iranian “deal”, and to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, on his FIRST day as President. He also intends to defund Universities that engage in BDS, and prosecute those engaged in illegal boycotts. Most importantly, for the first time since Oslo in the mid 90’s, President Cruz will not impose on Israel a commitment to the failed “Two State Solution”.
To put it in perspective, here are the current candidates for President-all self-proclaimed “Pro-Israel”– and where they stand relative to past Presidents’ relationship to Israel…
-Bernie Sanders & Hillary Clinton = Barak Obama……biased towards the “poor Hamas killers”.
-Donald Trump = Bill Clinton……neutral, and evenhanded and very susceptible to bullying the more reasonable and peace loving side -Israel.
-Kasich (Rubio, mainline GOP) = George W. Bush……biased towards Israel, but easily distracted or overridden by other regional concerns.
-Ted Cruz= A class of his own……committed to the safety and viability of the State of Israel.
For those of you, considering supporting Trump, and ignoring his very troubling statements regarding Israel, because “Trump’s daughter, and her family are Jewish, so Trump will certainly be good towards Israel”…. don’t forget that Hillary’s [ONLY] daughter is also married to a Jewish boy, and Senator Bernie Sanders is HIMSELF a Jew from Brooklyn!!!
Domestic Policy: School Choice
Our community is uniquely effected by the ongoing debate nationwide between the public school system, and empowering the parents to send their children to a school of their choosing. Senator Cruz’s oft-repeated cry, that “school choice is the civil rights issue of this generation”, can potentially SAVE – financially – our struggling families……
With public school absolutely off the table in the Orthodox community, every family is forced to pay tuition to educate our typically large families. In effect, we are all essentially being double taxed. We pay taxes to educate our neighbors’ children in public schools, and then pay again, in the form of tuition, for our large families.
For years, we have understood, that if only every parent would receive a “voucher” to pay tuition to the school of their choice, almost everyone will be happy. Those of us inclined to send to private schools, would be able to do so in an affordable way. For the public in general, the free market would dramatically improve academic levels and equally as dramatic, drive down the cost.
A President Cruz, that is an ardent supporter of school choice, can help arguably the three most vulnerable among us; the Yungerleit/young families (haven’t secured themselves financially), the large families (drowning in tuition bills), and the Yeshivas and their supporters (unable to recover all the tuition owed/ unable to cover the collection costs).
It is also important to realize that, free market principles are an integral part of Cruz’s worldview, he isn’t “pandering” (telling a group of voters what they want to hear) to Orthodox Jewish voters. In fact, Ted Cruz, unlike Trump, DOES NOT pander. So when Donald Trump was promising Iowa farmers that he will force Americans to buy their corn for ethanol/gas, Ted Cruz did not tell that powerful interest what they wanted to hear. Senator Cruz also does not try to sound like something he is not. Trump cynically tries to fool the voters that he is a religious guy, and very pro-life, and then ends up embarrassing himself when his ignorance is exposed in public.
Why is this so important? Simple. When a politician is pandering to a specific group, even if he was inclined to keep that promise, he would only be doing so, to curry favor from that group. The politician will easily change his mind, when a more powerful group with an opposing viewpoint, comes along, and the he wants to “pander” to them… (for example, in the case of school choice, the powerful teacher’s union is dead-set against it). Ted isn’t pandering, so his intentions won’t be easily overridden. Couple that with his perfect record on keeping his word, and we are in business!
Cruz’s unshakable support for Israel is also not a nod to the pro-Israel lobby. It flows from a firm belief in fairness and rule of law, and the commitment to friends and allies.
So, even if you don’t feel like you are working for the federal government for three months a year, and you don’t care for Ted Cruz’s 10% flat tax….and even if your insurance premiums didn’t double under Obamacare (or you are on Medicare) ….and even if your deductibles didn’t skyrocket in the last few years…. Ted Cruz should still be your choice!
For the first time that any of us can remember, the Primaries in New York and New Jersey are consequential. Let us show our gratitude to Ted, for his unwavering support of the State of Israel. Cruz can, and B’ezras Hashem will, win this race. Let us do our “hishtadlus” to make it happen. Additionally, an outpouring of support from our community, will certainly shape the cost-benefit analysis for other politicians too, to be more positive towards Israel….
In your states primary, vote for Cruz like your life depends on it…. because your brothers’ and sisters’ probably does.