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PAGE 8A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 20, 2014 Israel a strong focus of Sen. Ted Cruz's foreign policy push By Dmitriy Shapiro Washington Jewish Week A prominent Republican senator considered by many to be a contender in the 2016 presidential election has embarked on a foreign policy push of late, with a strong focus on Israel and the Jewish community. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a Tea Party favorite, recently returned to the Capitol after a tour of Europe and the Middle East with Secure America Now, including a two-day stop in Israel, where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, members of the Knesset, and Israeli defense leaders. "I went this time be- cause the national security threats to Israel and to the United States have never been greater than they are right now," Cruz told when asked about the purpose of his recent mission. "In particular the threat of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons capability. It was striking... [that when] I met with a number of senior leaders across the Israeli government, there was com- plete consensus across party lines in Israel from every single person with whom I met that, number one: the prospect of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapons capability is the gravest national security threat in the world and to the nation of Israel; and number two: that the current deal being negotiated with Iran is a very, very bad deal and is a historic mistake." While on the trip, Cruz made headlines by laying out his foreign policy positions regarding Israel during a speech to the Knesset. Cruz unequivocally blamed the Palestinians as being solely responsible for derailing the recent round of peace talks and blasted Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama administration for criticizing Israel over settlement plans. "I don't think the United States should attempt to dic- tate the terms of peace," Cruz told "Nobody wants peace more than the nation of Israel. Israeli mothers and fathers love their children and want them to live in a peaceful land. But I don't believe a peaceful solution is remotely likely unless and until the Palestinians, num- ber one, acknowledge Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state; and number two, renounce terrorism, and [in] my view, Israel is a sovereign nation and is entitled to make its own determinations about how best to achieve peace in Israel." "If America can help pro- vide a neutral forum, a venue for positive negotiations, thenwe should do so," he said. "But the American president should not demonstrate ar- rogance in trying to dictate the terms of any solution for peace." Cruz continued his Israel push Sunday, June 1, address- ing around 10,000 attendees at the Israel Day Concert in New York City's Central Park. Later that day, he headlined a fundraising dinner sponsored by the bipartisan, pro-Israel political action committee NORPAC. The event was held at Abigael's Restaurant with a $1,000 minimum donation per guest, raising a total of around $800,000 for Cruz's campaign coffers, according to estimates. Although NORPAC raises money for pro-Israel can- didates from both parties through its approximately 35 yearly fundraising events, the organization's president, Ben Chouake, said Cruz was very well received. "He has terrific in his abil- ity to be articulate," Chouake said. "He's not only issue ori- ented but he's very factually oriented; he tends to be very well researched." "You have a smart guy who understands what he believes in and this is it. He's a very conservative guy, but I can tell you, as opposed to people like [Sen.] Rand Paul, he is responsibly con- servative," added Chouake. "He understands America's place in the world. He's not fiscally conservative to the point where we're giving up our leadership in the world." Chouake also voiced his support for the senator's statements on settlements, noting that it doesn't make Cruz against diplomacy. "Look, Judea and Samaria is the heartland of Israel, historically," he said. "The Palestinians have been build- ing; the Israelis are building. If they have an agreement, you stickwith the agreement; if you have no agreement, it's basically disputed territory and you do what you do to benefit your people." Speculation about Cruz's motives on the trip emanated from both sides of the aisle, since he is considered a likely presidential candidate in 2016. The self-labeled "pro-Isra- el, pro-peace" lobby J Street did not miss a beat in attack- ing Cruz's trip, chiding the senator in its own fundraising email. "Now the presidential hopeful is on the ground in the Holy Land and once again doing his best to pander to the far right elements of the pro- Israel community," said the letter from J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami."Apparently Cruz thinks the path to the White House runs through Judea and Samaria. But you and I know better. Poll after poll affirms that pro-Israel activists support US efforts to broker a two-state deal." At least one Jewish organi- zational leader framed Cruz's trip in terms of it being a safe move among voters aligned with the GOP base: The pause in peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestin- ians allows politicians to make statements without fear of choosing between sides and, more than two years before the next presidential election, it's clear that legislators are less influential in crafting foreign policy than the White House. But even groups on the right, such as the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), have been hesitant to fully back Cruz, preferring instead more establishment candidates like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. At the RJC's annual leadership retreat in Las Ve- gas earlier this year, Cruzwas not among the invited slate of potential 2016 candidates. The RJC did not respond to a request for comment. Texas businessman and Republican activist Fred Zeidman, who said he is close to Cruz, believes that the gap between the senator and the established Republican Jew- ish community is most likely the result of Cruz's novelty on the foreign policy scene, but is gradually shrinking as they learn of his positions. "You never know what somebody can do until they get in office," said Zeidman. Cruz, he added, "was new to the game and he was run- ning against a guy (Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst) who had a very long-term demonstrated record and was a major philanthropist to the state of Israel." Zeidman, who has known Cruz since working with him on the George W. Bush presi- dential campaign in 2000, Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Flash90 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem on Dec. 17, 2012. said he never had any reason to worry about the senator's devotion to the state of Israel or the Jewish community before he ran, and in his view, the legislator has lived up to that expectation. Cruz's grassroots appeal is among the worries fac- ing Jewish establishment organizations, including his non-compromising domestic policy positions that included supporting the federal gov- ernment shutdown earlier this year--putting him at odds with the GOP estab- lishment, business leaders, and many of his Senate col- leagues. "He's an ideologue but he's brilliant and I think he unequivocally understands the need to get things ac- complished and accomplish- ment does take compromise," said Zeidman. eI thinkto the extent that he doesn't have to compromise his principals he will do what he needs to do to make things hap- pen because being ideologi- cally committed to nothing happening, never works, or always works nothing happens." Rabbi Yitzhok Tendler, co- founder of the Young Jewish Conservatives (YJC), agreed with Zeidman in that he thinks Cruz isn't just trying to pander to donors. "I think what's unique about it is that he is probably the most articulately anti- Palestinian intransigence senator out there right now," said Tendler. "He's a guywho's deeply inspired by the ideal of freedom--from my interac- tions with him, this is a big deal for him. He's an ideologi- cal purist and he doesn't mind speaking his mind even if it might be unpopular." Tendler said that he first met Cruz when he came to address YJC members at their inaugural Shabbat dinner held during the Conservative Political Action Conference in early 2012. "Back then hewasn't even senator and he was passionate about it. so I think it's sincere. I don't think there's anyulte = rior motive." he said. "I mean some of it might be religiously based, but he doesn't strike me as an evangelical fanatic, so I don't think that's where it comes from." By Rabbi Tzvi Gluckin Aish Hatorah Resources The Rolling Stones played in Israel. And that's awesome. The Stones are the world's greatest band. They are also the world's oldest. I am surprised that a band that's been around as long as the Stones--and that's toured for as long as the Stones--never made it to Israel. But that's what 50th an- niversary tours are for. The Stones aren't just musicians. They're insight- ful social commentators. Infused in their lyrics are messages of hope, despair, and a commentary on con- temporary life. And if you look carefully, The Wisdom of the Rolling Stones important Jewish lessons can be found in their lyrics, too. Here are the top five Jew- ish lessons from the world's greatest band: 1. (I Can't Get No) Satis- faction I know. Obvious choice. But a powerful life-lesson nonetheless. "When I'm driving in my car, and that man comes on the radio, and he's telling me more and more, about some useless information, supposed to fire my imagination." According to the Stones, blatant in-your-face con- sumerism has convinced you that you can't be satisfied. Ever. What you have is not enough. You want more. You need more. HANDYMAN SERVICE Handy man and General Maintenance Air Conditioning Electrical Plumbing Carpentry Formerly handled maintenance at JCC References available STEVE'S SERVICES Call Steve Doyle at (386) 668-8960 And if you don't want more, that man on the radio will con- vince you that you do. But, as the Stones want you to know, that's nonsense. "Who is rich? The rich person is happy with what he has" (Ethics of the Fathers, 4:1). I doubt the Stones were studying the Talmud when they wrote "Satisfaction," but they were onto something. You can get satisfaction.Ap- preciate what you have. Don't make your happiness depen- dent on externals. Externals are out of your control. Be re- sponsible for your happiness. Take stock in what you have and be satisfied with your lot. Real wealth is up to you. You don't need more. 2. You Can't Always Get What You Want That's true. But when you try, sometimes, you get what you need. You are not in control of situations. The events and things in life unfold around you. And you are not in con- trol. It isn't your call. What can you do? You can complain. You can bellyache. You can get upset. You can be miserable because nothing goes your way. Or listen to the message of the Stones. You can't always get what you want. So what? God gives you what you need. A great coach will push you until you hurt. He will work you hard. You will hate him for it. You don't want to work that hard. But you do. And when you achieve your goals. When your team wins. When you succeed beyond your expectations. You are thankful. You thank the coach for push- ing you. You didn't like it at the time. But it was worth it; with perspective you see that. It wasn't what you wanted, it wasn't pleasant, but it made you into the person you wanted to be. And that's an important Jewish idea. 3. Paint it Black Don't get stuck. Don't be self-absorbed. Don't be selfish. Don't get hung up on your obsessions or inhibitions. "I see a red door and I want it painted black. No colors any more, I want them to turn black. I see the girls walk by, dressed in their summer clothes. I have to turn my head until my darkness goes." Don't think like that. The Stones, in this clever analogy, are telling you, "Don't." Focus instead on the good. Be positive. Be a ray of sunshine. Rabbi Noah Weinberg, of blessed memory, taught, "Happiness isn't a happening. Happiness is your responsibil- ity." Gloom and doom are easy. They're copouts. Woe is me. Don't go with that. Take re- sponsibility for your happiness. Focus on the good in your life. Make happiness your priority. The choice is yours. 4. Time Waits for No One That's right. When it's over, it's over. And we all go to the same place: the grave. (See Ethics of the Fathers, 3:1.) "Time can tear down a building or destroy awoman's face. Hours are like diamonds, don't let them waste." You only get one life. Don't blow it. Don'twaste your time. And don't waste your time on vanity. Don't spend your life chasing nonsense and empti- ness. Take time to invest in something real. And if you disagree, death is proof. The richest man and the poorest bum both die. And there is nothing you can do about it. Listen to the Stones. Think about your values and priori- ties. Think about your goals. Think about your purpose and mission. And invest in that. Make the effort to invest in what's really important. 5. Waiting on a friend "I'm just waiting for a friend." Your friends are the most important people in your life. Your friends will do anything for you. A real friend will. And you would do the same. Friendship is an investment. It takes effort and work. Your friends have virtues. Think about those virtues. Focus on them. Cherish them. And cherish those relationships. And when all else fails, you can count on your friends. Invest in them. Wait for them. The Stones are more than just a band. They are seasoned veterans on the road of life. And they played a concert in Israel. BDS be damned. Tzvi Gluckin lectures ex- tensively on a wide range of Jewish related topics.He is the author of four books including "Everything You Want Is Re- ally Jewish," "Discover This," and "Knee Deep in the Funk: Understanding the Connec- tion Between Spirituality and Music. " He served in the lsraeli Army, holds a B.M. in jazz studies from the New England Conservatory of Music, and is currently the director of VechulaL an innovative Jew- ish think tank in Boston. For more information, visit his website at