Mike Pence speaks during Donald Trump introduction Governor Mike Pence as running for vice president at Hilton hotel Midtown Manhattan. July 16, 2016. (Photo: lev radin / Shutterstock.com)
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Friday tweeted that his choice for vice president is Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who beat out flashier contenders such as former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
For the pro-Israel community, Pence is viewed as a strong advocate for the Jewish state who can bolster Trump’s sometimes shaky relationship with Jewish leaders. Although he has taken on a strongly pro-Israel tone in recent months, Trump had previously raised concern in pro-Israel circles by saying he would take a “neutral” approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Pence, an evangelical Christian, has noted that his strong support for Israel is rooted in his faith.
“Let me say emphatically, like the overwhelming majority of my constituents, my Christian faith compels me to cherish the state of Israel,” Pence said in an address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in 2009, while he was serving in Congress.
Many analysts believe Pence can boost Trump’s standing among social conservatives and strengthen his campaign in other areas such as executive experience, foreign policy, and navigating the political scene of Washington, DC.
Pence served in the House of Representatives from 2001-13, including on the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he advocated for robust military defense aid for Israel. As governor of Indiana, Pence has continued his steady record of support for Israel. He visited Israel in late 2014 and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Hoosiers have cherished our relationship with the people of Israel for generations. As we look ahead, deepening our ties with the people, businesses, and state of Israel remains a commitment that will empower us as partners. Grounded in our shared values and our hope for the future, today our friendship is highlighted by a remarkable entrepreneurial spirit shared between our two nations,” Pence said in a statement ahead of that 2014 trip.
David Brog, a member of the board of directors at Christians United for Israel, which helped sponsor Pence’s visit to Israel, praised the Indiana governor as one of the Jewish state’s “most steadfast supporters.”
“We have known and worked with Mike Pence for years. His faith and worldview have made him one of Israel’s most steadfast supporters, both in Congress and as governor,” Brog told JNS.org. “He would be yet another powerful pro-Israel voice on Donald Trump’s team.”
In addition to his support for Israel, Pence, like Trump, favors an American foreign policy that is centered on robust military strength. He has repeatedly called for large increases in military spending and has criticized Democrats for not using the term “Islamic extremism” when describing jihadists.
Pence had also been a vocal critic of the Iran nuclear deal. In 2015, he joined 14 other Republican governors in signing a letter to President Barack Obama expressing their opposition to the deal.
Pence’s stance on the nuclear deal contrasts with his potential vice presidential opponent, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who is rumored to be among presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s finalists for the job.
In 2015, Kaine was among a number of Democratic senators who boycotted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress about the nuclear deal. Nevertheless, Kaine defined himself as a “strong pro-Israel Democrat” in an interview with The Forward, and also told the Washington Jewish Week following a visit to Israel in January 2016 that Netanyahu “is a key partner” that the U.S. must work with.
In Indiana, Pence signed into a law a bill that formally opposed the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer called the Indiana measure the “toughest anti-BDS legislation in the nation.”
Elliot Bartky, president of the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana, who worked closely with the Indiana State Assembly and Pence in crafting the anti-BDS legislation, said he feels the governor is an excellent choice by Trump.
“Governor Pence has had a long and distinguished track record advocating for Israel and the Jewish people as a congressman and then governor of Indiana,” Bartky told JNS.org. “We fully expect that if elected vice president, Governor Pence will continue to lead the nation with the type of sorely needed moral clarity and courage on this issue that has typified his career to this point.”
Despite his state’s relatively small Jewish community, Pence has promoted economic ties between Israel and Indiana.
“Israel and Indiana share many concerns that Hoosiers cherish,” Pence said last month at the second annual Indiana-Israel Business Exchange. “As our nation’s strongest and most important ally in the Middle East, Israel is also a key partner in our state’s economic growth.”
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A Sa’ar 4.5-class Corvette of the Israeli Navy fires its canons during a naval exercise off the coast of Israel.
Israel’s Defense Ministry on Sunday announced a series of deals for the purchase of combat systems from local defense industries in the amount of $420 million by the end of this year. This is part of a project to acquire warships whose mission would to protect natural gas platforms within Israel’s “economic waters” in the Mediterranean against military threats.
An Israeli soldier training in Krav Maga.
Several dozen members of the Indian military are currently learning how to protect themselves using the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga, India Today reported this weekend.
“I brought Krav Maga to India in year 2002 after intensive training in Israel,” Vikram Kapoor — the head instructor at the International Krav Maga Federation — was quoted as saying. “This is the only self-defense technique that is being evolved every moment and that is why it is the best.”
Culminating a three-year process, delegates at the Mennonite Church USA assembly in Orlando on Thursday adopted a resolution titled “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine,” with approximately 98 percent voting in favor. The resolution calls on members to “avoid purchase of products associated with the occupation or produced in settlements in occupied territories.” It also establishes a process for the church to review its investments “for the purpose of withdrawing investments from companies that are profiting from the occupation.”
Rabbi Steven Wernick says Netanyahu recruited progressive Jews to find a compromise for the holy site; now that the PM has reneged, world Jewry won’t be silent
The fight for pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall is a battle already won by Jewry’s Conservative movement. For some 20 years, Conservative Jews have inhabited a spiritual home at Jerusalem’s contentious holy site, which they won through a series of Supreme Court cases — in a section allocated to the Davidson Archaeological
Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. (Photo credit: hebron.com)
In a secret ballot held at the World Heritage Committee’s 41st annual summit in Krakow Poland, on Friday, UNESCO voted twelve to three in favor declaring the Holy City of Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs “Palestinian world heritage sites”.
The resolution described a Muslim history of the city while blatantly ignoring the Biblical narrative describing 3,000 years of Jewish connection to the site. Six countries abstained from the controversial vote which, at the request of Poland, Croatia, and Jamaica, was a secret ballot; a first for such a vote.
During last month’s 2017 Chicago Dyke March, the true face of “inclusion” among “progressives” finally surfaced. According to the Chicago based newspaper Windy City Times, the march proceeded calmly with people “of all races, genders and gender identities” attending, until “the Dyke March Collective ejected three people carrying Jewish Pride flags (a rainbow flag with a Star of David in the center).”
Something is terribly broken in the relationship between American and Israeli Jews. I say this as an American Jew who has lived in Israel for almost half a century. But if anyone thinks this started with Women of the Wall or PM Netanyahu’s recent – and I believe unfortunate – backtracking on the agreement over egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, he is suffering from selective memory, if not total denial.
gentleman from times gone by. He was soft-spoken, courtly, and wore his pants hoisted high and held up by suspenders; clearly, a European who had personally endured horrors in the last century.
Indeed, he had personally survived the Holocaust in Poland. Therefore, I could not immediately understand why he now attends a very left-wing synagogue—but, totally incomprehensible, was his unexpected and rather passionate defense of Poland and of the Poles. He argued on their behalf as if his very life still depended upon it.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s decision to visit Jerusalem but not Ramallah has prompted much comment.
The expectation of equal treatment goes back to the Oslo Accords’ signing in Sep. 1993, when the prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, represented his government in the handshake with Yasir Arafat, the much-despised chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. No one found it strange or inappropriate at the time but things look differently nearly a quarter century later.
Matthew Healy at the Atlantic, one of the few remaining liberal anti-censorship magazines, offers a disingenuous counterpoint to the debate over political correctness.
The attempts to silence dissenting points of view are counter-speech, according to Healy. And counter-speech is an important form of free expression.