Texas Senator Ted Cruz made a semi-official announcement on social media Sunday, revealing that he will officially submit his plans to run for the Republican presidential ticket in 2016 on Monday.
Cruz is the first presidential hopeful to officially enter the race. He will make his announcement at Liberty University, a university which emphasizes traditional conservative Christian values and is a significant indicator of the direction of Cruz’s campaign.
In the next several weeks, other Republican contenders are expected to enter the race, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Cruz, 44, was elected to the US Senate in 2012. The former Texas solicitor general quickly made a name for himself with his unfailing conservative values and his tenacity to take on both Democrats and Republicans alike.
His appeal to many ultra-conservative members of the Republican Party was highlighted last year when Cruz led the Republican push to shut down the federal government during an unsuccessful attempt to block US President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Cruz, the son of a Cuban-born father and American mother, would be the US’s first ever Hispanic president. His father Rafael Cruz is an outspoken Evangelical pastor. While born in Canada, it remains unclear how the Senator will overcome the constitutional requirement that any president be born in the US.
A true friend of Israel
With all the excitement and controversy (depending who you ask!) surrounding Cruz’s run for the White House, where does the Republican hopeful stand on Israel?
Cruz is a vocal and ardent supporter of the Jewish state. While on a visit to Israel in June 2014, Cruz stated that the threats facing Israel and the US “have never been greater than they are right now.”
A religious Christian, the senator has many times come to the aid of Israel and the Jewish nation in times of great need. In one notable instance, Cruz was publicly shamed by some fellow Christians for his support of Israel.
In September 2014, while speaking at the dinner gala of the In Defense of Christians organization, Cruz caused an unexpected uproar when he told the audience, “Christians have no greater ally than Israel.” Attendees booed the senator off stage and yelled out for him to “stop it.”
Despite the growing unrest and continued calls to leave the stage, Cruz said, “Those who continue to hate Israel hate America. Those who hate Jews hate Christians. If those in this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps for them.”
Who is to blame for the failure of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks?
The Republican candidate has made clear his position on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Unlike the current Obama administration, who has repeatedly forced Israel to unsuccessfully negotiate with the Palestinian Authority-Hamas government, Cruz puts the failure of peace talks squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinians.
“The principal impediment to peace is that, to date, the Palestinians have refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and have refused to renounce terror,” he told the Knesset in May 2014.
“Unless and until the Palestinians can agree on those very basic starting block, no lasting peace solution is likely.”
Cruz added that “the US should stand with Israel” and that it was not “America’s role to try to impose a policy about where Israeli settlement are located and where they’re not.”
“America has a role facilitating negotiations, helping bring the parties together and providing a fair and neutral forum where both sides can engage, if they wish, in good-faith negotiations, but any decisions about the terms of a peace deal should be made by Israel and the Palestinians.”
Threat of a nuclear armed Iran
Last month, in a historic and controversial speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed US lawmakers on the dangers of a nuclear armed Iran. With many lawmakers, including the president, condemning the speech, Cruz was one of the few who did not shy away from publicly voicing his support for the prime minister and the Jewish state.
“There is one threat on the face of the planet right now that poses a meaningful possibility of once against exterminating 6 million Jews, and that is a nuclear Iran,” he told media on the eve of the speech.
Following the speech, the senator had a clear message for the American people and others around the world: The current situation with Iran is akin to the events leading up to World War II.
“The deal being negotiated today is reminiscent of Munich in 1938,” he told reporters. “And when the administration comes back to America and promises peace in our time, we shouldn’t believe them now any more than we should have believed them then.”
Earlier this month, Cruz slammed negotiators for “fundamentally” lacking any understanding of their Iranian counterparts and their true intentions. The diplomatic deal currently being negotiated by the P5+1 superpowers and the Islamic Republic, according to Cruz, is not just a threat to Israel but the entire world.
Will Israel be a major focus of Cruz’s presidential bid?
With election season in the US quickly approaching, many are wondering how prominently Israel will feature as a key item of the foreign policy portfolios of presidential hopefuls.
While it remains unknown how far support for Israel, or lack thereof, will play in any candidate’s campaign, one thing is clear when it comes to Ted Cruz: The Senator has never minced words on his unequivocal support for the Jewish state and, as far as politics goes, this brings a sense of relief that American’s can truly know where Cruz’s heart lies.
On God’s land of Israel and on his nation.