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December 18, 2015

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 18, 2015 U.S. Senator Marco Rubio By Caleb R. Newton Part 2 of a 3-part series The international and do- mestic threat of terrorism is driving the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary's prin- cipal concerns and outcome, as repeatedly related at the Republican Jewish Coalition's (RJC's) Dec. 3, 2015, Presiden- tial Candidates' Forum held in Washington, D.C., with 13 of the Republican Primary can- didates speaking. Addressing this terrorist threat is linked to an increased American security alliance with Israel as multiple candidates noted in their respective addresses at the Forum. The RJC's National Chair- man, I)avid Flaum, set the stage for the event with words to the same effect; saying, as most of the candidates later reiterated, that the 2016 Presi- dential Election is a"National Security Election." Another supporting and defining is- sue in the National Security emphasis was the Dec. 2 attack in San Bernardino, California, that resulted in the deaths of 14 people, including a Mes- sianic gentile man. At the time of the Forum, the California attack was not formally understood as directly linked to terrorism; some in power had suggested simple "workplace violence." The Republican candidates took issue with this posi- tion, both asserting that the attackwas terrorism and criticizing the lack of resolve to confront the ever-growing domestic terror threat per- ceived by the Republicans. After the Forum, the attack was formally recognized as terrorism by the United States authorities; one of the attackers was found to have been in contact with multiple terror groups and to have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State under a pseudonym on Facebook. A crucial part of the Re- publicans' plan to confront the terrorism facing America was to strengthen the United States' security partnerships with our allies, including Is- rael.As frontrunner candidate and current United States Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL, noted, the same terror threat is faced by Israel and by the United States; therefore, the two nations must "stand to- gether." When there is a void, or "daylight," between the two nations, as Rubio stated, it is then that terrorism takes the opportunity to strike. In Rubio's perspective the strengthening of the U.S./ Israel security relationship is as much for the sake of the State of Israel as it is for the sake of the United States of America. Therefore, policies would be undertaken in a Rubio administration that were, visibly, solely for the benefit of the Israelis rather than the Americans. Rubio implied that the two interests were, at the core, the same. Not the same was the case for other candidates, includ- ing Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and incumbent New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, both in the polls with less than 5 percent sup- port as of Dec. 7, 2015. In their perspectives, the U.S./ Israel relationship was to be strengthened to the point of clearly benefiting the citizens of the United States, and no farther. Theoretically, then, if a United States policy decision in an environment such as the United Nations in support of Israel would realistically and credibly produce a threat .to the American people, Rubio would most likely support the measure while Bush and Christie would not do so. An example "potentially provocative" measure, men- tioned at the Forum, is the relocation of the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, said by Ted Cruz, current candidate and U.S. Senator, R-TX, to be a move that recognizes Jerusalem as the "once and eternal" capital of Israel. Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, in the pools with less than 1 percent support, was the only candidate to openly question completing the measure, saying that he would move the embassy "if the Israeli government would prefer" it in Jerusalem. Another "potentially pro- vocative" issue in Global Terrorism that no candidate necessarily spoke out against was the cessation of U.S. funding and support for the PalestinianAuthority (PA).As Former New York Governor George Pataki, Republican candidate with less than 1 percent support, stated at the Forum, and as was reiterated by multiple candidate, the PA is "no partner for peace." The PA has repeatedly been shown to support terrorism in astate- sponsor manner. Now the American people go into wait-and-see mode. Although the satirical news- paper "The Onion" published an article stating that Rubio's campaign had dispatched troops to fight the Islamic State, such is obviously not true and the only way to test the candidates' diverse national security perspec- tives is to elect one of them, not a reversible action. One important note is that Rubio was undoubtedly correct when he stated that the same terror threat is faced by the United States and Israel, as the Islamic State continues to threaten both nations; therefore, it is definitely in the American interest to strengthen the United States' security alliance with Israel. Caleb R. Newton is a global affairs analyst and student living in Central Florida. Find him at the Times oflsrael, Dis- secting Society, and Global News Breakdown. Contact him at calebrnewton@global- By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA)-- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking at an annual U.S.-Israel confab, said Israel's government must consider the consequences of evolving toward a single state incorpo- rating the Palestinian areas. "How does Israel possibly maintain its character as a Jewish democratic state?" Kerry said Saturday at the Saban Forum inWashington, D.C. Would Palestinians "be relegated to a permanent underclass? Would they be segregated?" he asked. Kerry's forceful question- ing of Israeli policy as well Is- raeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon's outright derision of U.S. Middle East policy the previous evening under- scored the divisions that con- tinue to dog the governments of President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Kerry told the forum, which is sponsored by the Israeli-American entertain- ment mogul Haim Saban and convened by the Brookings Institution to bring together U.S. and Israeli leaders, that he believed Netanyahu was committed to a two-state outcome, but it was clear that "many" ministers in his Cabinet were not. Should Israel abandon plans for two states, Kerry said, the Palestinian Author- ity would likely collapse, and Israel would have to assume many of the functions it now carries out, including polic- ing the Palestinians. More comprehensively, Israel would have .to consider how it gov- erns an entity with a Jewish minority. "The level of mistrust" between Israelis and Palestin- ians "has never been more profound," Kerry said. Kerry's bluntness matched Yaalon's in his claim the previ- ous evening that the Obama administration had forfeited leadership in the region to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Much of the Saban event is off the record, allowing for frank exchanges between top U.S. and Israeli officials. It is rare for such corrosive exchanges to make it into the portions open to the media and streamed online. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front- runner in the race to become the Democratic nominee for president and Kerry's prede- cessor as secretary of state, is due to speak on Sunday. Netanyahu, in a last-minute addition, delivered a 10-min- ute video address Sunday rebutting Kerry'swarning, He said the core issue hindering Israeli-Palestinian peace was the Palestinian refusal to rec- ognize Israel as a Jewish state. "The Palestinians have not yet been willing to cross that conceptual bridge, the emotional bridge of giving up the dream of not a state next to Israel, but of a state instead of Israel," Netanyahu said. The unfiltered bickering showed that last month's friendly Netanyahu-Obama summit did not entirely patch up tensions and hurt feelings stoked by Kerry's failed attempt in 2014 to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal and by this year's Iran nuclear deal, which was backed by Obama and opposed by Netanyahu. Kerry, at Saban, asked how Israelis imagined the interna- tional communitywould react to a scenario in which Pal- estinians were permanently denied rights. He studiously avoided the term "apartheid',; his previous use of the term to describe the likely outcome of a collapse of the peace process drew sharp criticism from Jewish-American groups. Kerry said Israel and the Palestinians were sowing de- spair-Israel through contin- ued settlement expansion and the demolition of Palestinian homes, and the Palestinians through countenancing in- citement and their failure to condemn attacks on Israelis. "Abu Mazen needs to change the rhetoric," Kerry said, referring to Palestinian Authority President Mah- moud Abbas. Kerry singled out as "incendiary" Abbas' charges recently that Israel planned to alter the status quo at the Temple Mount-Haram al Sharif, a Jerusalem site holy to Jews and Muslims. Much of the recent spate of deadly violence in the West Bank and Israel has been stoked by tensions surround- ing the Temple Mount. Kerry chided leaders on both sides for sniping at one another. "If all you're doing is hurl- ing invective at each other on a daily basis," there is little prospect for peace, he said. Kerry said Israel was effec- tively allowing Israeli expan- sion into Area C, the largest part of the West Bank where Israel maintains control and which the Palestinians say they need for a viable state. "Settlements are absolutely no excuse forviolence," he said. "But continued settlement growth raises questions" about Israel's intentions. Kerry said that in Area C, Israel had granted only a single permit for Palestinian building over the previous year, while enshrining as legal many illegal Israeli settlement outposts in the area. "You get that?" he said, appearing to challenge the Israelis present. Yaalon, the previous eve- ning, said Israel preferred a "slowly, slowly" approach to the Palestinians, preferring to focus on Israel's secu- rity needs and unspecified progress on the political and economic tracks for the Palestinians. Kerry also sharply pushed back against Yaalon's claims that the United States had failed to show leadership in confronting the Islamic State terrorist group making gains in Iraq and Syria. "We have led a coalition of 65 countries to fight, degrade and defeat Daesh," Kerry said, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State. "We are not naive." The "naive" comment ap- peared to be a direct rebuke to Yaalon, who was present, and who in the past has used the term--not to mention "mes- sianic"--to describe Kerry. Yaalon had said that Russia was showing more resolve in the fight than the United States. "Unfortunately, in the current situation, Russia is playing a more significant role than the United States," elicit- ing some gasps at the stately Willard Hotel in downtown Washington. "We don't like the fact that King Abdullah of Jordan is going to Moscow, the Egyp- tians are going to Moscow, the Saudis are going to Mos- cow," Yaalon said. "It should have been very different. And we believe the United States can't sit on the fence. If you Kerry on page 15A / ( The Vatican issued an unprecedented declaration that the Jew- ish people are part of God's salvation without explicitly confessing Christ as their savior, in a document that includes other changes in Catholic Church teachings related to Christian-Jewish relations. On Thursday, the Pontifi- cal Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews pre- sented the "A Reflection on Theological Questions Per- taining to Catholic-Jewish Relations" document during a press conference at the Vatican to mark the 50th anniversary of the "Nostra Aetate" declaration, which was another watershed mo- ment in Jewish-Christian ties. Even though Catholics believe that there is only one path to salvation, the new document states that "it does not in any way follow that the Jews are excluded from God's salvation because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel and the Son of God." "That the Jews are par- ticipants in God's salvation is theologically unquestion- able, but how that can be possible without confessing Christ explicitly is, and remains, an unfathomable divine mystery," the docu- ment says. According to the docu- ment, Jews are Catholics' "elder brothers" and "fathers in faith." Catholics, it states, should reject institutional activities that try to convert Jews, but can "in a humble and sensitive manner" bear witness "to their faith in Jesus Christ also to Jews." Rabbi David Rosen--the American Jewish Commit- tee's international director ofinterreligious affairs--said thatwhile NostraAetate"revo- lutionized Catholic teachings about Jews and Judaism," the new "Reflection on Theo- logical Questions" document "clearly repudiates replace- ment or supersessionist theol- ogy, and expresses an increas- ing appreciation and respect for Jewish self-understanding, reflected in recognizing the place of Torah in the life of the Jewish people." Rosen, however, expressed disappointment that the new document fails to address "the centrality that the Land of Israel plays in the historic and contemporary religious life of the Jewish people."