This AJT column is part of a series giving a supporter of each of the remaining presidential candidates a chance to pitch the Jewish community on that candidate. Read the others here.
By David Lefkovits
It is no secret that we are seeing a rebellion of sorts by the electorate against the entrenched political order in Washington. Anger, frustration, demagoguery and sensationalism have taken center stage over substantive debate about pragmatic solutions to truly complex problems.
This is unfortunate because the serious challenges facing our country demand serious and practical solutions, not empty promises and rhetoric.
The economic and security threats to America and our closest allies are becoming increasingly dangerous, and the stakes for electing a new president are higher than ever.
Our total debt is out of control, reaching $19 trillion, with Social Security and Medicare on the path of insolvency. Our health care costs are higher than ever, and we are not adequately preparing future generations to compete in a 21st century global economy. According to one study, we have dropped to an unimpressive ranking of 35th out of 64 countries in math and 27th in science.
Our immigration system is broken, and Washington’s dysfunction and paralysis have hindered efforts to pass comprehensive legislation to secure our borders and provide a solution to the millions of undocumented workers and their families who live in the shadows of society.
The vital U.S.-Israel relationship has been weakened by eroded trust between our leaders and by what a bipartisan majority feels is a dangerous and irresponsible deal with Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism dedicated to the destruction of Israel. The administration’s disengagement has created a dangerous vacuum worldwide that is being filled by adversaries who threaten our interests and those of our allies.
As a Jew, a Zionist and the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I care deeply about Israel’s security. I know my Christian friends share my concern with the threats facing our closest ally in the Middle East. We agree on the need for a strong America to ensure a strong Israel.
We need a leader who believes in the shared interests, values, and emotional and historical ties that make the U.S.-Israel relationship so important to the stability and future of the Middle East. A leader who is committed to restoring the trust between the United States and Israel. One who is firmly opposed to the anti-Semitic BDS movement to delegitimize Israel and has called for an end to “moral equivalence” between Palestinian terror and Israel’s efforts to defend itself.
We need a leader who is committed to holding Palestinian leaders accountable for official acts of incitement that honor terrorists, glorify violence and teach children to hate. A leader who believes the pathway to peace requires an end to violence and the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and one who is committed to moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and unequivocally showing the world where the United States stands.
In strengthening our own country, we need a principled leader with comprehensive, substantive and responsible policies to address our security, economic, education, immigration and health care challenges.
This is why I supported Jeb Bush. If you judged the man on his character and his record as governor of Florida, you would find a caring, sincere, thoughtful and levelheaded leader with a proven track record and a robust set of policies and solutions to the many challenges we face today. You would also find a committed advocate and ally for Israel.
Now that Jeb is out of the race, I am challenged with identifying which candidate possesses many of the attributes that I found so appealing in Jeb. The one who would be best suited to lead our nation during these times of increased threats and uncertainty and restore our leadership and credibility in the world.
Many candidates have expressed strong support for Israel and a commitment to restoring our country to greatness. However, their empty rhetoric and lack of civility raise questions of whether they can be trusted to manage the grave challenges at hand. Our leader will also need to get along and work closely across the aisle and with members of his own party.
Many of us expect our children to be respectful of others, to be civil and decent, and to always show good sportsmanship regardless of the situation. Shouldn’t we expect the same from the leader of our country and the free world?
In my opinion, there are only two candidates left in the race who meet all of the above criteria. Only one of them seems to have a real chance to win.