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November 6, 2022 3:47 pm
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American Jewish Voters Must Put Jewish Concerns First

avatar by Farley Weiss / JNS.org

Opinion

US President Donald Trump prays between Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, and Pastor Andrew Brunson (R) at the Family Research Council’s annual gala in Washington, DC, October 12, 2019. Photo: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas.

JNS.org – In recent years, evangelical Christians have started to prioritize Israel and a candidate’s position on Israel when they vote. A short time ago, former President Donald Trump controversially asked why American Jews don’t do the same thing.

If you ask an evangelical why they are so supportive of Israel, they will quote Genesis 12, in which G-d says to Abraham that He will “bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” To make it clear that this applies specifically to the Jews, in Numbers 24:9 G-d directs Balaam to say of the Jewish people, “Those who bless you are blessed and those who curse you are accursed.”

Shouldn’t American Jews also vote for candidates who bless rather than curse the Jews? Candidates who prioritize Jewish issues and thus, the Bible says, will be blessed themselves? As the US midterm elections approach, Jewish voters are once again faced with these questions.

In some ways, former President Trump was wrong. According to Gallup, American Jews are far more pro-Israel than the average American and about 95% of them do care about Israel. Nonetheless, they will not necessarily vote for the candidate who is most supportive of the Jewish state.

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For example, legal scholar Alan Dershowitz is unquestionably pro-Israel, even writing a book called The Case for Israel. However, Dershowitz has made it clear that he may not vote for the most pro-Israel candidate because of other issues that concern him. This isn’t unusual. A rabbi in California once told me it was immoral to vote for Trump in 2016 because of his character.

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