Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Not a day goes by that Ted Cruz doesn't think about the Jews and Israel

 


SILVER SPRING, Md. (JTA)—I want to tell you about the person I have worked with closely for the past two years. Sen. Ted Cruz is not just my boss, but has become my mentor and my friend.

There is no greater friend of the Jewish people and of Israel.

We started together in the summer of 2014, a very bitter and difficult summer, with a war raging between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Early that summer three innocent Israeli teenagers were kidnapped in the West Bank. Senator Cruz took to the Senate floor and spoke passionately about the boys in order to humanize them in the eyes of the world. He called upon Hamas to release them immediately. When they were subsequently found murdered, the senator sponsored legislation to offer a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of the killers.

A few weeks later, a Hamas rocket landed a mile from Ben Gurion Airport and the Federal Aviation Administration banned all commercial flights into Israel. Senator Cruz again took to the Senate floor and demanded to know why the FAA had launched what amounted to an economic boycott of Israel while it was fighting a war in Gaza. He questioned why the ban coincided with Secretary of State John Kerry’s arrival in Israel to try and force a cease-fire. What’s more, the senator announced he would put a hold on all State Department appointees until his questions were answered.

The very next day the FAA lifted the flight ban.

That September, Senator Cruz was scheduled to speak at a dinner in Washington hosted by a group called In Defense of Christians, whose goal was to bring attention to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East by radical Islamic terrorists. As an evangelical Christian, the senator considered this an issue of deep concern.

However, on the morning of his speech, we got word that there were pro-Hezbollah speakers at the conference and that many in the crowd seemed anti-Israel. All day our office struggled with the decision of whether or not the senator should cancel his speech. Finally, the senator said: “I’m going to go and speak the truth, no matter the consequences.”

As he began his remarks, Cruz said: “Christians have no greater ally then the Jewish state. Those who hate Israel, hate America; and those who hate Jews, hate Christians.”

At that point there were boos and catcalls from the crowd. The senator continued: “If you hate the Jewish people, you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ.”

The boos worsened, and I actually became afraid for the senator’s personal safety in the hostile crowd.

Cruz then said: “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you.”

And with that he walked off the stage.

Not a day goes by that Senator Cruz does not think about the Jewish people and Israel. Whether it is putting together a coalition of evangelicals, national security experts and conservative Tea Party groups to oppose the Iran deal; or fighting against the BDS movement, discriminatory labeling of products from the West Bank and global anti-Semitism.

People often ask me why the senator focuses so much on these issues. I believe he relates to the struggles and hopes of the Jewish people because his father also fled oppression in a foreign country and came to America seeking freedom and opportunity. While he would never compare what his father went through to what the Jews suffered in the Holocaust, he always quotes his father as saying: “When I fled Cuba, at least we had somewhere to go. If we lose America, where do we go?” The senator believes that Israel, like America, is an important beacon for hope and freedom.

America is at a crossroads. Like in 1980, when Americans rejected the failed foreign and domestic policies of Jimmy Carter and elected Ronald Reagan, we have an opportunity in this election to restore America’s leadership in the world, grow our economy and create jobs, and return our country to constitutional principles, including religious liberty.

The Jewish community can play a significant role in electing Ted Cruz as the next president of the United States.

Nick Muzin, M.D., J.D., is senior adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz. He is a graduate of Yeshiva University, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Yale Law School, and lives in Silver Spring with his three children.

 

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