With months to go before the Presidential election, almost anything can still happen with the colorful candidates on the ticket. However, should it come down to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders against Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, American Jewry will be faced with a painful dilemma: whether to vote for a liberal Jew or an Evangelical Christian for President.
For American Jews, it has been the highest aspiration to finally see one of our own sitting in the Oval Office, the ultimate sign of having made it in America. What could be better for the Jews than having a member of the tribe in the White House? Yet, in the upcoming election, I won’t be voting for the first Jewish candidate, since, as a religious Zionist, I sadly have come to realize that I have more in common with an Evangelical Christian than one of my own.
While Bernie Sanders enjoys bagels and lox as much as any good Jew and even toiled in the fields of an Israeli kibbutz, his hostility towards the Jewish State is frightening. Sanders represents the secular, liberal Jewish community who has bought the Palestinian narrative hook, line and sinker by believing that Israel has disproportionately killed thousands of innocents in Gaza. On the other side of the aisle stands Ted Cruz whose blood runs blue and white almost as much as it does red, white and blue. You can’t get more pro-Israel than Cruz, who has promised that his first item of business as President will be to move America’s embassy to Jerusalem.
As someone dedicated to teaching Christians about Israel through my websites Israel365, Breaking Israel News, and The Israel Bible, I have had many deep conversations with Evangelicals. On a regular basis, my Christian Zionist friends have impressed me with their Biblically-rooted love for the Jewish State, which has led so many of them to honor the God, the people and the land of Israel. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that today’s Christian Zionists are not our grandparents’ goyim.
Rejecting centuries of Christian anti-Semitism, tens of millions of Evangelicals have become staunch in their support for Israel without the apocalyptical mass-missionizing that Jews have been legitimately concerned about. Their devotion to Israel is deep. Their tourists come to visit even when Jewish groups are quick to cancel their flights in fear. And while you may not see many buildings around Jerusalem named for Christian donors, millions are in fact contributing to Israeli charities, without strings attached. They are not demanding a plaque on the wall nor a conversation about Jesus.
The possible presidential showdown between an Evangelical Christian and a liberal Jew raises profound questions for American Jewish voters who may not have noticed how far both communities have shifted until now. With secular Jewry moving away from Israel and Evangelical Christianity moving towards it, it’s time for the Jewish community to take action.
Firstly, we must call out those Jews who have taken their desire for acceptance too far and distance ourselves from progressive causes that undermine our own well-being. Secondly, we must do more to develop meaningful relationships with Christian Zionists that are built upon our common Biblical heritage and appreciation for Israel. It is time for the Jewish community to get beyond the stereotypes that reject all Christians who “either want to kill us or convert us”, and get to know what makes our Evangelical allies tick. When we get to know them better, we will