Baseball great Mariano Rivera defends himself after hit piece attacking his support for Trump, Israel

“As a Christian, if my Savior Jesus Christ, he’s a Jew, so how am I going to turn my back and say, ‘Oh, I won’t support Israel?'” Rivera told Fox News.

By World Israel News Staff

New York Yankees pitching legend Mariano Rivera is fighting back against an article in the Daily Beast that is highly critical of his political views.

Rivera was inducted Sunday in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

“Rivera represents a nearly unbroken succession of Yankee greatness that stretches all the way back to the 1920s, from Ruth and Gehrig to DiMaggio and Mantle, and then Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter,” writes Robert Silverman in an opinion piece in the Daily Beast.

However, Silverman then writes that over the past three years, Rivera has “also served at the pleasure of a racist president, taken part in thinly veiled propaganda on behalf of a far-right government in Israel, and gotten chummy with outright bigots and apocalyptic loons. None of this will be inscribed on his Hall of Fame plaque. It should, even if much of the sports world would very much like to pretend none of it exists.”

“Mr. President Trump to me, he was a friend of mine before he became president,” Rivera told Fox News on Wednesday in response to the scathing article. “So, because he’s president I will turn my back on him? No. I respect him. I respect what he does and I believe he’s doing the best for the United States of America.”

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Regarding the Jewish State, Rivera said: “As a Christian, if my Savior Jesus Christ, he’s a Jew, so how am I going to turn my back and say, ‘Oh, I won’t support Israel?'”

Silverman delves into the former relief pitcher’s connection to Israel and Jewish leaders. The article includes a Twitter post and photo from U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman shaking hands with Rivera in front of a U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem plaque.

Noting Rivera’s evangelical connection, the writer states that “the vast majority of Evangelical Christians also believe in a particular messianic biblical prophecy: Jews must rule the Holy Land before Christ can return. Whether Rivera ascribes to those beliefs entirely is unclear,” says Silverman, noting that Rivera’s “support for Israel and the Israel Defense Forces is a matter of public record. He has traveled to Israel on multiple occasions, possibly beginning in 2013. That year, the New York Board of Rabbis (NYBR) named Rivera its ‘Man of the Year,'” he adds.

The former relief pitcher often refers to his religious beliefs. Asked on Fox how he became the first player to be unanimously inducted in the Hall of Fame, Rivera replied: “I was just happy to be in the big leagues… Little did I know the Lord has a lot of things for me in my path.”