How did Christian Zionism fare in the midterm elections?

Moshe chose capable men out of all Yisrael, and appointed them heads over the people—chiefs of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.

Exodus

18:

25

(the israel bible)

November 10, 2022

3 min read

While the Republican party emerged overall victorious from the midterm elections, the anticipated “red wave” failed to materialize. 

What do the results mean for Israel, and how did pro-Israel Christian candidates fare?

“We had very high expectations of the size of the victory anticipated in these elections,”  Marc Zell, the chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel, told Israel365 News. “That didn’t happen. But nevertheless, the victory was ours. The goal of the elections was to be able to control the House of Representatives and Congress.”

Zell explained that with a Republican majority in both houses, there was less of a danger from anti-Israel legislation and it would be easier to pass pro-Israel legislation. 

“For Republicans, this election was about ideology and their ideology on Israel is great,” Zell said. “Trump proved that. But voters are rightfully concerned about other issues like the economy. For Democrat politicians, this election was all about power by retaining control over both houses. And that is dangerous for Israel.”

“Of course, the social issues that are important to pro-Israel Christians are advocated by the Republican party,” Zell said. “This should make for a very simple decision in casting their votes.”

Perhaps the biggest victory for the pro-Israel Christians was Governor Ron Desantis’s waltz to reelection. Gov. DeSantis is vocal about his support of Israel. In 2019, when he led a delegation of more than 90 leading citizens on a trade mission to Israel, the governor, a Roman Catholic, concluded his trip with a visit to the Western Wall where he offered up a silent prayer. Before leaving, he inserted a note between the rocks

The effects on Israel-US relations is best judged by which way the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies, went. AIPAC spent $17 million on the campaigns of 365 candidates from both parties they believed would support Israel.

On Wednesday morning, AIPAC released a statement praising the election results as a victory:

“We congratulate the elected and reelected senators and representatives from both parties who will be joining an overwhelmingly pro-Israel Congress,” AIPAC said in a statement. “Despite the fierce partisanship of this election cycle, there remains a resolute bipartisan commitment to the US-Israel alliance.” 

Some of these preferred candidates were victorious Democrats, such as Don Davis (N. Carolina Senate), Jared Moskowitz (House, Florida), Robert Garcia (House, California), Valerie Foushee (House, N. Carolina), and Glenn Ivey (House, Maryland).

But not all of AIPAC’s preferred candidates won. In Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district, Democrat Summer Lee defeated her Republican opponent Mike Doyle, the preferred candidate of AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups. Lee has tweeted disapproval of Israel’s right to defend itself.

Lee was the candidate supported by J-Street, a Jewish group that supports the two-state solution. Similarly, a group of 240 members of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community wrote a public letter in support of Lee and condemning AIPAC for its opposition to her campaign.

Another hotly contested election was the Pennsylvania senate election between Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz and Democrat John Fetterman who emerged the victor by more than five points. Oz is a Muslim of Turkish origin and a physician television personality and was the preferred candidate of pro-Israel voters who invested heavily in his campaign. Dr. Oz has openly expressed support for Israel but John Fetterman has been evasive on the subject. His detractors claim that since his platform on social issues is progressive to the extreme, he will align with other progressives who are almost universally anti-Israel. Fetterman, who was endorsed by J Street, has denied this claim. 

Virginia’s Democratic Congresswoman Elaine Luria has been a strong supporter of Israel which makes her loss especially painful. Luria had strong backing from pro-Israel groups and AIPAC identified the contest as one of the key battles in the midterms. 

Support of Israel became a central point in the race for governor of Pennsylvania between Doug Mastriano, a Republican pro-Israel Christian Zionist, and Josh Shapiro, a Torah-observant Jewish Democrat. In what should have been a win-win situation for the pro-Israel crowd, the issue of Israel became contentious when reporters confronted Mastriano’s wife with claims of connections with far-right antisemites. His wife claimed, “As a family, we so much love Israel. In fact, I’m going to say we probably love Israel more than a lot of Jews do.” 

Shapiro emerged victorious. 

Zell noted that the contest between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker in Georgia is still undecided and will be decided in a runoff election on December 6. Warnock is vocally anti-Israel and is supported by BDS organizations. 

“The election needs to be not about the personalities, both of whom are flawed,” Zell said. “For Christian Zionists, Warnock is unquestionably bad for Israel. But for this reason, the election needs to be about control of the Senate. In this case, Warnock also believes in things that are bad for America.”

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